Apart from a flexible timer function and a high-quality solar panel, the solar irrigation controller is uncomplicated to use, adaptable to various weather conditions, and they are durable too. Some even come with rain sensors, multiple outlets, broad displays, remote control, and they can be integrated with smart devices.
Things to Consider
When choosing a solar irrigation controller for sprinkler systems, the flexibility of the timer is vital. A basic timer would activate and deactivate the sprinklers a couple of times a day – a rigid routine. But with a timer that has a flexible function, you can customize the frequency and intervals between the sprinkler activity.
The quality of the panel that comes with your controller will determine how reliable it is. A high-quality solar panel will offer high efficiency and sufficient power output. This way, the controller will always have enough juice to run.
As the seasons change, the water requirement of your garden changes accordingly. A top-notch irrigation controller would be able to adjust its functions to the changes in the weather. For example, more rainfall offers less irrigation, and when there is less, it irrigates more frequently.
Of course, your solar-powered irrigation controller is only useful to you if you can operate it. While some products are complicated to use, you should set your eyes on those with straightforward functions. Then, since most solar powered irrigation controllers are installed outdoors, you should get one durable enough to resist harsh weather conditions. Impact resistance and resistance against other harmful forces are also important.
Our List of Best Solar Irrigation Controller
Top on our list is the DIG Solar Powered Irrigation Controller. We chose this irrigation controller as our number one pick because of its rain detection system, high-efficiency solar panel, and because it is environmentally friendly with no backup battery.
The DIG solar powered controllers offer you an irrigation interval from 1 minute to 5 hours in manual mode. This makes it easy for you to set out any watering pattern you want – the frequency and duration of irrigation are in your hands.
While the Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer makes manual and automatic watering provision, it does not offer the same flexibility as the DIG Solar Powered Watering Timer.
The LCD screen on the DIG Solar Powered comes with a am/pm clock and icon-based programming. This makes an easy operation since you would not have to squint to see what you are doing.
Rain Delay System
Another important feature of the DIG Solar Powered Timer is the automatic rain delay system. This irrigation system delays watering by at least 12 hours and at most 7 days. The Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer comes with a similar irrigation system to help reduce water consumption and postpone watering when there is rain.
The solar panel of the DIG Solar Powered is made of monocrystalline cells. So, you can expect that the panel uses a relatively high amount of the sun rays that get to it. Even better is the battery capacity of this solar-powered irrigation controller. After a full charge, the controller can run on battery for up to one year – pretty amazing.
Compared to the DIG Solar Powered Irrigation Timer, the Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer battery is estimated to last about 2 to 4 weeks when fully charged.
The DIG Solar Powered Timer is made of plastic. While this will not resist significant impact, it is airtight enough to keep water out and resist UV damage.
While the DIG Solar Powered Irrigation truly offers flexible timing, you cannot set it to irrigate at specific times. You can only choose specific irrigation intervals. Also, you cannot integrate this with smart devices. In other words, you cannot monitor its operation via Google Assistant, Alexa, or your smartphone.
- Environmentally friendly.
- The PV panel is made of monocrystalline cells, so it is highly efficient.
- You get to set water duration and interval by yourself.
- Easy to install.
- It is moderately durable.
- It cannot be integrated with smart devices for monitoring.
2. Netro Pixie
The Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer comes in a close second on our list. It takes this spot because of its smart integration, rain delay system, remote watering control, and weather adaptability.
The Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet Timer can be integrated with smart devices. You can connect it to Android 5.0+ devices, web browsers, and iOS 8.3+ devices. This means you can use smart AIs like Google Assistant, Alexa, and IFTTT.
Remote Watering Control
Integrating your solar-powered irrigation controller with smart devices allows you to control watering remotely manually. It also allows you to store irrigation data and save it on a free lifetime cloud service. These are features you will not get with the DIG Solar Powered Watering.
The Netro Pixie Smart Hose Faucet needs no hub to connect to the internet; it connects directly to 2.4 G WiFi.
Besides integrating with smart devices, the Netro Pixie comes with a feature called Smart Watering. This feature adjusts your watering schedule to save water, and it works with weather data to optimize its function.
While the Netro Pixie does offer manual watering, the interval & frequency range does not match that of the DIG Solar. But the manual watering mode of the Netro Pixie comes with a less-than-60-minute delay, which helps to save charge.
The DIG Solar and the Netro Pixie use rechargeable lithium batteries. However, the capacity of the battery that comes with the DIG Solar is higher. The Netro Pixie uses a 1400 mAh removable battery, which will last 2-4 weeks in the absence of the sun.
You could rev things up in your garden by getting the Netro Whisperer alongside the Netro Pixie. When you connect both devices, you can monitor the temperature, sunlight, and moisture level in your garden.
The Netro Pixie is easy to install, it comes with a water thread that filters water, and the interface is easy to understand. In addition, it has an IP65 rating – so it will resist water, dust, and UV considerably.
- You can integrate it with smart devices for remote monitoring and control.
- It comes with a smart watering feature, which saves water and adapts to weather changes.
- Requires no hub for connection to the internet.
- It is pretty durable, even more so than the TACKLELIFE Solar.
- Has a simple interface.
- Timing on this product is not as flexible as that of the TACKLELIFE Solar.
Last on the list is the Ancnoble Irrigation Controller. This product has the largest solar panel amongst all the solar-powered controllers we have reviewed so far. So, expectedly, it offers the highest solar output.
Apart from high output, this solar-powered irrigation device comes with timer control that lets you adjust the irrigation interval to your own taste. This is almost like what TACKLELIFE Solar offers.
Besides the timer control, the Ancnoble GG-005C-1 has a moisture sensor. The moisture sensor touches the soil in your garden and regulates watering based on the level of moisture in the soil. So when the timer control is on, the moisture sensor can double as a rain sensor, stopping irrigation during rainfall. This is a bit like what the TACKLELIFE Solar and the Netro Pixie offer.
The moisture sensor is ideal if you have plants in your garden; you will not have to worry about overwatering or underwatering them.
The Ancnoble GG-005C-1 runs on 4 rechargeable AA batteries, unlike the lithium batteries the TACKLELIFE Solar and the Netro Pixie offer. Nonetheless, the batteries do their work just fine. If you ever need to replace the batteries but cannot find rechargeable batteries, you can use the non-rechargeable types.
The Ancnoble GG-005C-1 comes with a 3/4″standard thread and 3/8″ flow-rated valve. It is also easy to set up, although not as easy as the other two products.
Overall, the Ancnoble GG-005C-1 is a remarkable product. However, it isn’t quite durable.
- High solar output – more than the other 2 products.
- It comes with a timer control for flexibility. However, it is not as flexible as the TACKLELIFE Solar.
- It features a moisture sensor, which automates irrigation according to the moisture content of the soil.
- It can run on rechargeable and non-rechargeable AA batteries.
- Not very durable.
Your solar powered irrigation regulator will spend a lot of time in the sun for obvious reasons. However, it will also be exposed to snow, rainfall, and many other harsh elements. So, it only makes sense that you opt for one made from a durable material. Also, look out for the ingress protection code – IP65 to 68 offers some of the best resistance to water and dust.
Flexible Timer Function
When getting solar-powered irrigation devices for sprinkler systems, having a timer, you can customize a long way. A flexible timer allows you to adjust the frequency & duration of watering to a setting that suits the conditions of your lawn.
In the absence of sunlight, the control needs the battery to run. Therefore, the longer the battery life, the longer the irrigation control can run without sunlight.
As the weather changes (especially changes in rainfall), your lawn will either need more water or less water. The best solar-powered irrigation regulators for sprinkler systems typically come with rain sensors or moisture sensors.
These sensors come in various forms, such as expansion disks and rainfall collection cups. They notify the irrigation control of the level of rainfall, and in turn, the control increases or decreases the duration & frequency of watering accordingly.
Number of Outlets
If you have a large lawn, you may need more than one outlet to cover the area properly. To this end, you should get a solar-powered irrigation regulator that offers more than one outlet. The water from each outlet will cover different parts of the lawn, so you get wider coverage.
Integration With Smart Devices
If you would love to monitor or control your solar-powered irrigation timer with your smart device, opt for one that supports smart integration. This way, you can store & monitor irrigation data, get the weather forecast, and even control watering with AI such as Google Assistant.
There is a whole lot for every individual to consider when looking to buy a solar powered controller. You have to consider the size of your lawn, how much control you want over the frequency and duration of watering, and much more. Once you clearly define these details, the other considerations are pretty straightforward.
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