Compared to other smart sprinkler controllers we have reviewed above, Skydrop smart sprinkler controller is fairly old, being released in 2014. However, it remains as one of the most popular choices for smart sprinkler systems. The first thing you will notice from the Skydrop is the look with a very beautiful and futuristic design. Arguably, it is also the most beautiful out of the smart sprinkler controllers available, with a very nice circular LED light both as an indicator and aesthetic enhancement.
Considering it is also a fairly old product, the Skydrop is also relatively affordable when compared to newer products such as the Rachio 2nd Gen. However, although it is old, it is not obsolete at all, as the app is constantly updated, and the core feature is pretty good.
Skydrop is an 8-zone smart sprinkler controller, and there is the separate extension module if that’s not enough. Most of the Skydrop reviews are also positive, so it is definitely a viable choice even today.
First, let us start our Skydrop review by discussing the key features.
Although we shouldn’t choose a smart sprinkler controller based on its looks, aesthetic is definitely one of the biggest selling points of Skydrop. It is very well-designed with high-tech, futuristic look. There is also a beautiful LCD to show you the weather forecast and status of each zone, and there is a jog dial controller surrounded by LED light to do onboard manual control.
The Skydrop app
The mobile app is constantly updated, and is also very beautiful in design. Now, it is comparable to other apps such as Rachio’s, and the app works based on Weather Underground system to pull your local weather reports. It works really well, and there is also a web app if you want to monitor the Skydrop from your PC or Mac.
Third Party Integration
Another major highlight for Skydrop is a decent third party integration, especially with Amazon Alexa and Nest. It is fairly limited compared to Rachio 2nd Gen, since there is no open API or IFTTT support, but it is still a very decent third-party integration overall. In a Skydrop VS Rachio comparison, however, the Skydrop pales.
Ease of installation is now the standard of any smart sprinkler controllers, and the Skydrop installation is also just as easy. You can easily wire the Skydrop to your previous sprinkler system, and it will only take a few minutes. The Skydrop manual is very comprehensive, and you can directly follow it to set up your system.
The Skydrop can calibrate your sprinklers to work with the specific type of soil you have. You can also tweak the watering need of each zone including the timing, and you can also use the manual mode when necessary. Even better, there is no Skydrop monthly fee associated with all the features you get.
Our Review of SkyDrop Smart Sprinkler Controller
The physical unit of Skydrop, as mentioned, is arguably the most well-designed of any smart sprinkler controllers out there. It is also quite different in shape and is slightly longer than its competitors. However, it won’t need that much space when mounted on your wall, and it feels really solid and well-made. All in all, we really appreciate the physical design of the Skydrop.
To install the Skydrop, the package comes with extra large screws. It might look funny at first, however, the screws will keep the Skydrop securely mounted to your wall, so it is a nice extra value. There are two pieces of the Skydrop controller, the backplate is where the wires will be connected, and the front piece is where the beautiful LCD screen and the controller wheel sit.
As usual, if you’ve had a previous smart sprinkler controller before, wiring the Skydrop will only need a few minutes, and you can do exactly the same wiring as your previous system. However, if you are setting up a brand new sprinkler system, you might want the help of a professional.
Once the wires are set up, you will need to place the front piece to fit the backplate. This might need a bit of force, but it is manageable. As usual, now you will need to download the app and set up the Wi-Fi connection. You will also need to input your zip code, as the weather technology used by Skydrop is based on your zip code location. So, it is not as precise as GPS-based weather forecast found on Rachio or RainMachine. However, you can also link SkyDrop to Weather Underground, which is a fairly reliable weather forecast protocol to enhance the accuracy.
The Skydrop app itself, as mentioned, is also very well-designed and user-friendly. You can easily set up various zones, set the timing for your watering, fine tune things like slope, soil type, sprinkler head numbers, shade, and several other variables.
Although it is rich in customization features, it is very easy to use, and it is definitely one of the best smart sprinkler controller apps in our opinion.
The web app works just as well, and is also very well-designed. You get every piece of information on one screen, and they are very easy to understand. The integration to Alexa and Nest works seamlessly, and as mentioned, Skydrop regularly updates the app with more tweaks and new features.
Pros and Cons
Here are what we liked and disliked from Skydrop smart sprinkler system.
- Beautiful design, both for physical design and app design
- Onboard manual control with jog-wheel
- Easy installation and very easy to use
- Expandable to 16 zones with expansion module (sold separately)
- Nest and Alexa integration
- No Open API or IFTTT
- Reliance to weather forecast, and we can’t upgrade it with additional sensors
- Hardware is relatively slower compared to newer products
The Skydrop’s core features are comparable to Rachio 2nd Gen or RainMachine smart sprinkler systems. However, Rachio has better third-party integration, and RainMachine offers better touchscreen control compared to jog-wheel control offered by SkyDrop.
However, the Skydrop is better designed than both and is very solid and durable. The app, while also similar in features, is also more intuitive and better looking. If you are a fan of modern, high-tech aesthetic, Skydrop is definitely a great choice.
One major downside is that the hardware is a little obsolete, and works slower compared to RainMachine or Rachio. Due to its age, we might also see SkyDrop 2.0 in a very near future.