Irrigation Programmers — Review and comparison in 2021

Comparative table

You can’t use it away from home, because you need access to a mains, and the price is quite consistent, being a device used by professionals.

If you need an automated programmer, with useful functions, efficient in managing several areas, able to save resources and with an easy to understand interface, it is a wise choice.

It has great autonomy, using 9 V alkaline batteries, which makes it useful in areas without access to the mains, and the extended duration of the two watering programs, between 1 minute and 10 hours, along with the possibility of using a long calendar, make it suitable for people who spend less time in the field.

Even if it is provided with a non-volatile memory function, a battery level warning LED, there is a possibility that it will stop working for long periods of time, remaining unverified.

When you need a reliable, highly autonomous controller that incorporates programming functions for intensive agriculture, this product is an option to keep in mind.

The programmer is distinguished by the ease with which it can be used and maintained, because it incorporates an LCD screen with clear display, is mounted on tap and hose, and works on common batteries, AA, and functions allow you to perform cyclic watering for periods long.

It is a product intended for summer gardens, which does not withstand negative temperatures and is designed for use in areas cultivated with flowers or plants that do not require differentiated care.

If you do not necessarily want to use the most advanced technologies and you are not ready to make too big investments for a summer flower or vegetable garden, this is the product you are looking for.

Reviews about the best irrigation programmers

Hunter irrigation programmer

Hunter X-Core XC401E

When you decide to buy a Hunter irrigation programmer, the X-Core XC401E is among the things to think about. It is a device suitable for outdoor mounting, with a strong housing and operating capacity between -18 and 66 degrees, and the built-in transformer is weatherproof.

The programmer can control up to 4 solenoid valves, 3 of which simultaneously, and is equipped with a Hunter Click rain sensor, to be able to intelligently regulate irrigation. It has a number of 3 independent programs that can operate up to 12 times a day, and the maximum duration of a program is 4 hours. In addition, it has a test program, so you can make a quick diagnosis when needed. An indisputable advantage consists in the possibility of percentage adjustment for seasonal fluctuating needs, in a range of 10 to 150%.

The power supply is made by connecting to the network, and to avoid possible problems related to it, it is equipped with automatic protection in case of short circuit, as well as non-volatile memory, which guarantees the return to selections made before forced decommissioning. .

Hunter PCC1201E

For those who have a larger irrigated area and a variety of land or plants, one solution is a Hunter irrigation programmer for several areas. The PCC1201E is such a product, capable of managing a maximum of 15 solenoid valves and up to 12 irrigation zones. The non-modular programmer is designed to control 3 solenoids at the same time and has 3 programs that can be implemented up to 12 times a day, with 4 starts per program. In order to evaluate the system, you can use the test program.

The maximum irrigation time for an irrigated area is up to 6 hours, which ensures optimal conditions including low flow. It has, like other Hunter programmers, a Miniclick rain sensor that makes it efficiently manage water reserves. You can also rely on seasonal adjustment, which allows flow adjustment by 10–150%.

The power supply is made at any mains input with 220V-240 V, and the transformer output is 24 volts. For protection, the equipment has both a short-circuit shutdown system and a non-volatile memory, which records your settings and keeps them even after the power has been interrupted. The housing is compatible with outdoor mounting, with a closing lid, and operation is normal and in unfavorable conditions (-18–66 degrees Celsius).


Those who want an independent programmer, for hard to reach or remote areas, where you can not use the access to the mains, can think about purchasing a control device on the valve. Hunter has the NODE100VALVEB model, compatible with 9 V solenoids. It runs on battery and is an improved model of an older device, SVC.

The programmer controls a single solenoid valve, which is included in the package, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. It has small dimensions, similar to those of a water meter, being easy to place in the irrigation system and very resistant in any weather conditions (it is even resistant to permanent immersion, with IP68 protection). It offers you 3 types of programs and a number of 4 starts per program, respectively a total of 12 starts per day. It can also be used in the case of gardens that require long irrigation with low flow, having an operation duration on the long watering area of 6 hours.

With this product, you benefit both from the short-circuit protection system, from the non-volatile memory function, but also from the possibility to adjust the watering of the plants according to the season, with an increase of 10 to 150%. Manual start, with the push of a button, requires your minimal intervention.

Hunter I-Core IC601PL

For farmers who want the most flexible irrigation system possible, allowing them to expand or shrink irrigated areas at no cost, the most convenient solution could be a modular programmer, such as the model proposed by Hunter, I-Core IC601PL . It works, without the need for modifications, for up to 6 distinct irrigation zones, but can be extended, by adding ICM modules, to up to 30 zones. The simultaneous connection capacity is 5 solenoids, and provides you with 4 programs for optimal irrigation, with the possibility of seasonal adjustment.

An important advantage of this system is the extended duration of operation and the ability to restart frequently. Thus, the first 3 available programs can be triggered up to 8 times, and the last 16 times, so that an area can be irrigated up to 12 hours a day.

Like most Hunter irrigation products, it starts easily with a button bird, has a test function and is a programmer compatible with Hunter Click humidity sensors. Non-volatile memory, as well as short-circuit protection, will prove extremely valuable in the context in which you have complex programming possibilities.

2 zone irrigation programmer

Irritrol IR-PROG-0006

If the autonomy and flexible control of irrigation areas are among the priorities, an autonomous programmer, which works with a 9 V alkaline battery, will be quite useful. The model produced by Irritrol is an irrigation programmer for 2 areas, easy to install and with a wide range of functions and options. The electronic unit is provided with a folding cover, for the protection of the LCD screen, and has a built-in LED indicator, which warns about the battery status. For any events involving overload or short circuit, you have a resetable electronic fuse, which returns the electrical values to normal. In addition, the case is waterproof, so it is very suitable for outdoor placement.

The programming device has the possibility to apply two spraying programs independent of each other and 3 distinct starting times for these programs. In order to be able to carry out irrigations for long periods, benefiting from the autonomy of the device, you can use both the calendar options and the 14-day intervals, as well as the option to select the irrigation days. Regarding the seasonal adjustments, the product benefits from an increased flexibility, with a variation between 10 and 200%.

The minimum and maximum watering intervals can be adjusted between 1 minute and 10 hours, thus being a suitable device for a wide range of crops and irrigation flows. Because there are programs that run independently, stopping is done independently, on each area. Because it includes long-term function programming, this programmer works by manual start, but also semi-automatic or automatic.

Rain Bird WPX-2

Gardeners and farmers who opt for an autonomous irrigation regulator can turn to the products of the Rain Bird brand, a recognized manufacturer for irrigation systems, with over 80 years of experience in the field. One model of irrigation scheduler for 2 zones is WPX-2. It is powered by a 9 V battery and is mounted on the outside. The housing is designed to protect the equipment even in adverse conditions of submersion in water or at temperatures of -20 and up to 70 degrees C, so you can mount the device in the solenoid valve box.

In order for the irrigation areas to enjoy adequate spraying, the programmer executes the programs independently: start times, duration of operation and days in which they are executed can be set for each area. You can set up to 6 different times to trigger each solenoid valve. If you do not want to program the two irrigation zones differently, an automatic copy function will designate the program you have chosen for the second zone. With non-volatile memory, this device can store indefinitely the settings you make (for a century, manufacturers say).

To improve the efficiency of the programmer, you can use a rain sensor to interrupt the operation of one or all solenoid valves. In case you want to manually operate the programmer, a separate button ensures this. You will be able to view the operated settings on the LCD screen, to avoid any confusion.

Stock 25026

If you are interested in a programmer for two areas but you do not need complex systems, but a device as simple and reliable as possible, to cope with a household use, you can stop at a product with manual programming, such as is Stocker 25026. Besides the affordable price, such a programmer does not require battery power or mains.

The programmer consists of two timers with manual setting, which act separately for two garden areas, without interfering with each other. You can adjust both their start and irrigation time, as required by the field situation. The timer of this programmer will automatically close the irrigation flow when the time limit is reached, which extends between a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of two hours.

Regarding the compatibility of this device, it can be used by coupling to adapters with dimensions of 1 and ¾ inches. With its help, you will be able to use a single source of water, a standard faucet, to water two areas of the garden in a different way and using a single product.

Garden irrigation programmer

Cartek CKHCT311

Among the products that can make it easier for you to take care of the flower space, the lawn or the layers of vegetables near the house, an irrigation programmer for the garden is among the most useful and discreet. So is the Cartek model, designed for the domestic space, which is supplied with water through a connector ¾ with adapter ½ included in the package. You must remember that the timer will work if you connect it to a water source with a pressure of 1.5 to 8 bar, but it is not suitable for falling water tanks. In other words, you will need a pump or a running water tap.

The programmer can be mounted outdoors, with a degree of protection IP 44. But you must keep in mind that this device can not be exposed to negative temperatures, it is suitable for hot weather, up to 55 degrees. It is equipped with an LCD display, with a clear display of the types of commands you can set, and the timing can be performed both automatically and manually, a common requirement among older people.

The maximum duration of an irrigation cycle is 300 minutes, and the spray cycle that you can use in programming reaches from one hour to 23 hours and continues in days, from 1 to 15 days. You can select the days of the week and the exact time of the beginning of a cycle. Powering this programmer is very simple, with two AA V alkaline batteries, 1.5 V, easy to purchase. Select the days of the week and set the exact time and duration of each watering cycle.

EvoTools 679020

People who want to make their work easier in the garden, but are looking for cheap and good irrigation schedulers, as simple as possible, without giving them too much fork, can opt for a simplified version of timer with program selection, such as that of Evo Tools. The 679020 model is a manual programmer, with which you can manage in a flower or vegetable garden that does not require complex programs. With this timer you can set the watering time for up to two hours, after which it will turn off automatically. This way you do not have to personally supervise the watering of the layers, also saving water. The timer can be set in 15-minute increments, depending on the water requirement you estimate.

The use is very simple: all you have to do is turn the cursor on the dial to the desired duration. In order to be properly connected to the tap and to the irrigation hose, the programmer comes ready with ¾-inch and 1-inch adapters. In general, garden hoses and standard taps have these same dimensions, so you don’t have to bother looking for other accessories.

Due to the fact that it is operated manually, the timer does not need either power supply or batteries. All you have to do is install it and set it up. Its simple construction makes it suitable for outdoor use. It is not good to expose it to temperatures below -5 degrees, instead it works well in hot weather, to temperatures up to 60 degrees C. If you are going to connect it to a pump, avoid high pressures; its operation is suitable for pressures up to 5 bar. Don’t forget to connect it in the correct direction of flow.

Rain Bird ESP-Me

Not everyone has a small garden behind the house, so owners who have a lawn, flower garden, layers of vegetables or all this, on a large area, might be interested in an irrigation programmer for the Rain Bird ESP-Me garden. a modular product that can be adapted, with extension modules, for systems from 4 to 22 stations, and which is also compatible with the WI-FI LNK module, a plug-in accessory with which users can connect to the system from the internet, on iOS and Android phones.

With a large LCD screen, explicit controls and programs on the surface of a dial and a protective housing, the model is among the most flexible irrigation solutions, with the specification that it is supplied to the mains. It offers 4 programs and many functions. Preset programs allow daily watering, on even or odd days, or cyclically. The operation of the stations has a minimum duration of 1 minute and a maximum of 6 hours, and can be interrupted by a rain sensor.

Functions include: non-volatile memory, manual control, seasonal adjustment of irrigation (with a percentage between 5 and 200%), self-diagnosis function in case of faults in electrical cables or at one of the stations with continued operation of functional stations, shutdown total irrigation with the Permanent Day Off function. Other settings are for those who maintain and install the programmer, such as connecting to the valves during installation or setting up their own program.

Buying guide

Programmer type : The simplest and, at the same time, most affordable price, is a mechanical programmer. In the case of this product, the use is simple, and the power supply is made with battery. You can use a timer that works for intervals of 1 or 2 minutes and up to two hours, but each time you will have to be present to activate it. That is why this type depends to a large extent on your presence in the field.

Other models are more complex, being electronic, with digital control, and function as irrigation control centers. This type is more expensive compared to mechanical models, but you benefit from an automated system. You can set the watering time and the intervals between them and sometimes integrate, in addition to the high-performance timer, a total of up to 16 functions.

The best irrigation schedulers also have wi-fi or bluetooth, so they can be controlled remotely, as well as with sensors to help you preset the flow and frequency, compared to outdoor conditions and even the season. Some models can be programmed in such a way as to respect the particularities of an uneven terrain. That’s right, the price of digital programmers is higher, and they have a complex installation.

Compatibility : An essential element in purchasing an irrigation scheduler is compatibility with irrigation stations and valves.

In order to be compatible, an irrigation programmer must have a connection capacity greater than or equal to the number of stations you intend to control. This control is exercised by means of solenoid valves, which stop or start the flow of water to a certain area. Therefore, an irrigation programmer, at a good price, is able to control a large number of valves. To be compatible, identify the type of solenoids that power the valves. They usually work with 9 or 24 volts, so this value will determine the degree of compatibility.

Useful programs : A cheap and good irrigation programmer has a limited number of programs, but the most complex ones offer you a larger number of programs that you can use. These consist of various combinations of settings that refer to irrigation time, frequency and pressure.

The programs are suitable for various types of culture, terrain or climate, and large areas may need devices with several programs, so that you can cover all requirements with a single device. Affordable programmers have fewer programs, but because they are especially suitable for small or medium terrains, they do not require too much operational complexity.

Irrigation duration : Among the characteristics that define a programmer, be it manual or digital, is the possibility to set the irrigation duration. You can choose, depending on the purchased model, an irrigation from one or two minutes and up to 4 or even 6 hours. The longer the irrigation time can be extended, the more you will be at an advantage: you can transport more water in the soil, regardless of the flow of the system.

The need for a large time margin is given by the different irrigation conditions for different crops, but also by the different irrigation systems. In the case of a drip system, for example, you may need successive watering intervals of up to 12 hours of low-flow water release.

Other factors, such as weather conditions, soil type, crop stage or degree of evapotranspiration, are taken into account when making the irrigation program.

Installation method and place : In choosing the irrigation programmer, an important role is played by the way in which it can be installed. Typical models usually fall into two broad categories, namely those that can be mounted indoors and those that are equipped for outdoor mounting.

You can find irrigation schedulers, at good prices, intended for indoor installation, so that you have access to them right from the house or from the terrace; you do not have to go to the garden to start irrigation, and unfavorable conditions do not affect them. On the other hand, you will need a shed or a small shed if you can’t install them in the house.

The outdoor programmers are resistant to adverse conditions and have the transformer inside the housing, to be protected. Working with a battery, they no longer need extended cables.

Design and useful functions : You will find that an important element in choosing a programmer is easy access to its functions, so it is advisable to choose a device equipped with an easy-to-use panel, with strong buttons and easy-to-understand display.

Among the functions it is desirable to find the one of automatic shutdown or non-volatile memory. If precipitation occurs, a rain detection sensor that triggers automatic shutdown is useful. Not only do you save water, but you can prevent the culture layer from over-saturating with water.

Non-volatile memory guarantees you a return to the settings you made before a power outage or battery depletion.

Because you have read our advice, patiently, we invite you to read the lines below, from which you will find out what are the most common questions and how you can make garden irrigation more efficient.

Frequent questions

How often do garden flowers water?

How often should legumes be watered?

What surface is the irrigation scheduler needed for and when can I water the garden manually?

3 tips to effectively irrigate the garden

Use the precipitation rate

This refers to the amount of water that is distributed over a certain area. There are ready-made formulas for this type of calculation, which should take into account various factors, such as the number of liters / minute or hour that a sprinkler head charges, the distance between these sprinklers and their design, as well as and the rotation performed by the sprinkler head. But you can use the average rate given by the producer to adjust it with field tests and, considering the water losses caused by evapotranspiration, to reprogram the irrigation cycle accordingly.

Program the sprinklers correctly

You can really save money and improve your irrigation efficiency by using the settings you have. This advice applies in cases where the terrain and irrigation system options allow you to make adjustments. With a good price irrigation programmer, you can water the garden for 2, 5 or 45 minutes, on days set by you in advance. The degree of humidity will be appropriate and you will not waste water.

Uses humidity sensors

These sensors are very useful when you need to have certain data at hand so that you can program the irrigation system. In order to have guaranteed efficiency, adapt the humidity level that you will use as standard to the type of soil and humidity characteristic of the area. In this way you can use moisture thresholds correlated with the degree of evaporation.



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victor mardare

victor mardare

Shorty fell in love, yeah she always call me handsome