Are you looking for the best solenoid valve for irrigation? Discover my reviews, types and my guide to choosing.

If you intend to assemble a garden system, you will need to equip yourself with the appropriate irrigation solenoid valves for your goal. This is not such a predictable task, also because there are different types, each of which may or may not be suitable for your system. There are solenoid valves equipped with a control unit, which make a story in themselves, and then you must always analyze the voltage they are able to tolerate. You don’t have to worry, because in this guide I’ll give you all the information you need.

What is the irrigation solenoid valve for?

A valve is nothing more than a sort of tap, which opens and closes, allowing or not the passage of water in the direction of the sprinklers.

If we are talking about classic valves, these must always be connected to one control unit for irrigation, as they do not have a programmable computer. The control unit, in fact, sends a signal via electric cables according to the program you have established, with a series of variables. The electronic part of the valve (solenoid) does nothing but receive the signal and open or close the tap via a membrane, according to the times and other parameters established by the timer.

Note: in this guide I will also review some battery solenoid valves, equipped with built-in and therefore independent timers. These models can be simple control units for the cockpit or to be connected directly to a tap.

Voltage chapter: the 24v (24 volt) solenoid valves for irrigation must always be coupled with a special control unit, to be connected to the domestic current (220 volts) and capable of sending a 24 volt signal to the valve. Then there are the 9 volt valves, which unlike the first are compatible only with battery programmers (those to be installed in the wells, so to speak). Furthermore, the valves can have one or more ways, each of which is connected to a water outlet channel.

What else? The water inlet / outlet channel always has a thread, which can be male or female. The channel generally has a diameter of 1 inch, or about 2.5 centimeters, while in the solenoid valves designed for professional systems (such as those in football fields), the diameter can be much larger.

How a garden solenoid valve is made

In my opinion, knowing the various components of a solenoid valve is very useful, above all because it will help you to better understand how it works.

  • Body or external shell: all the components of the solenoid valves are enclosed in a solid body in hard plastic, or in fiberglass.
  • Water inlet / outlet channels: the water inlet and outlet channel always has the same thread (male-male or female-female). In the middle of the channel is the mechanism that allows the tap to be closed or opened.
  • Electric cables: these are the cables to be connected to the timer, to allow the programmer to send the electrical signals to manage the solenoid valve.
  • Solenoid: the solenoid is the device that allows you to activate the opening or closing of the tap, based on the signals received by the programmer via the electrical cables.
  • Membrane: it is the mechanism that is controlled by the solenoid and that has the task of physically closing or opening the water channel.
  • Bleed screw: it is a mechanism used to purge the solenoid valve for the irrigation system. It is also known as an atmosphere vent mechanism, and is typically used before starting the valve or after cleaning it.
  • Flow control: this is a screw or a washer, the purpose of which is to regulate the pressure and flow of the water when it comes out.

The solenoid can usually be turned counterclockwise and clockwise, so that the valve can be opened manually, without having to use a control unit.

Best solenoid valves for irrigation

1. Claber 90826 Electra Programmable

It costs a lot but it is an authentic jewel. In fact, we are faced with a programmable irrigation valve, therefore equipped with a built-in control unit. The materials are of the highest quality, with a robust and waterproof plastic body, while the thread is female and has a diameter of 1 inch. In short, it is a 1-way solenoid valve that will allow you to do without the programmer, which represents a truly remarkable advantage especially for installation in the wells.

  • Template: with control unit
  • Use: cockpit, above ground, tap
  • Voltage: 9 volts
  • Pressure: from 0.5 to 12 bar
  • Scope: from 4.6 to 96 liters
  • Extra: waterproof (IP 68)

As far as programming is concerned, the on-board computer houses 63 preset programs that you can use as you wish. Each program manages to combine different times and daily frequencies, so as to give you the “ready meal”, allowing you to save time and effort. Manual selection, on the other hand, takes place using a double knob selector, while the voltage obviously corresponds to 9 V, since it is a battery-powered product.

You can use it not only for the well, but also by connecting it directly to a tap. The possible settings are numerous, as in the case of the possibility of setting up to 6 daily programs, and the display is of excellent quality, large and easy to read. What are the other technical data? It is compatible with an operating water pressure starting from a minimum of 0.5 bar up to a maximum of 12 bar. In addition, it has a flow rate from 4.6 liters to 96 liters per minute, and being waterproof (IP 68) you can also install it at full immersion.

2. Claber 87322 24V 1 ″ M. 90815

If you are looking for a classic irrigation solenoid valve, therefore without a computer, then I recommend this other product from Claber. It is a device to be connected to a timer with 24 volt voltage, with male thread and made as always in nylon, with internal components in stainless steel. This makes the valve not only very robust, but also moisture-proof, although of course you won’t be able to submerge it (it’s not waterproof).

  • Template: from the cockpit
  • Voltage: 24 volts
  • Pressure: from 0.5 to 12 bar
  • Scope: from 4.6 to 96 liters
  • Extra: sand filter

Turning to the technical data, this model is compatible with operating pressures from a minimum of 0.5 bar to a maximum of 12 bar. The flow rate corresponds instead to a minimum of 4.6 liters per minute up to a maximum of 96 liters per minute. This is clearly a cockpit model, for an underground irrigation system, while I would like to emphasize once again its robustness. The nylon body, enriched with glass fibers, makes it capable of resisting mechanical stress and stress.

The electronic compartment is also excellent, with a solenoid equipped with an anti-sand filter, while as regards compatibility you can use it with all 24 V control units. The filter in question allows the valve to retain the impurities present in the water, which will ejected during the next irrigation cycle. Finally, you can rotate the solenoid for manual opening and closing, while the thread has a diameter of 1 inch (therefore classic, male).

3. Claber Solenoid valve 24 V Female 1 ″

I would also like to introduce you to this version with 1 inch female connection, which otherwise shares almost all the characteristics of the previous one. It means that, although it is not waterproof, you can place it inside a well without fear of humidity in any way, since the internal components are made of stainless steel. The external shell, on the other hand, is made of nylon with glass fiber, which allows it to effectively resist stress.

  • Template: from the cockpit
  • Voltage: 24 volts
  • Pressure: from 0.5 to 12 bar
  • Scope: from 4.6 to 96 liters
  • Extra: sand filter

The technical data is also identical: the voltage is from 24 volts, the flow rate from 4.6 to 96 liters per minute and the operating pressure ranges from a minimum of 0.5 bar up to a maximum of 12 bar. It also mounts the system to prevent water hammers, which should be emphasized, while the solenoid as always can be rotated for opening and manual closing of the solenoid valve. Finally, it resists an external temperature from 5 degrees up to 70 degrees, but this feature is found in all Claber products.

It is competitively priced and offers excellent basic quality, it is very robust and you just have to hold it in your hands to realize its resistance. The possibility of opening it manually is very convenient, but even in this case it is not a special feature, since we find it in almost all cockpit models. In conclusion, an excellent product that undoubtedly deserves a chance.

4. Claber 90829 Hydro-4 Cockpit Pre-assembled

If it annoys you to assemble the cockpit, with all the ensuing flapping, I suggest you consider purchasing this very special Claber product. It is “simply” a pre-assembled sump with inside the irrigation solenoid valve equipped with a control unit (therefore the product I reviewed first). The convenience lies in the fact that you will not have to make any wiring, since the box has already been prepared for connection to the water source and for the connection of the pipes.

  • Template: pre-assembled cockpit
  • Voltage: 9 volts
  • Pressure: from 1 to 6 bar
  • Scope: 25 liters / min at 2.5 bar
  • Extra: waterproof

In this regard, know that there are 4 routes available in total and they are completely independent. It means that, thanks to the integrated computer, you can select one of the many programs and “dedicate” it to a single line, to some or all. The irrigation cycles available for each day arrive at 8 in total (4 for each program), while the thread of the well is male and has a diameter of ¾ of an inch, both inlet and outlet. Finally, as always, you will find a convenient display to read all the most important information.

The technical data? The operating pressure starts from a minimum of 1 to 6 bar, while the water flow rate reaches 25 liters per minute with a pressure of 2.5 bar. Unfortunately the 4 valves are not very strong, so they could be damaged in the long term, so you should replace them periodically. Removed this defect, it is a really comfortable and super complete product.

5. Baccara Controller G75 with Solenoid valve

In my opinion it is an excellent programmer with solenoid valve but also offered at a fairly economical price. It is ideal for irrigation operations in vegetable gardens and gardens, and is waterproof (semi-watertight), so it can also be installed in a well, but without letting it “bathe”. It is clear that the presence of the timer in the bundle makes this product much more advanced than the canonical solenoid valves.

  • Template: with control unit
  • Use: cockpit, above ground
  • Voltage: 9 volts
  • Pressure: from 0.3 to 10 bar
  • Scope: not specified
  • Extra: waterproof (semi-waterproof)

What are its main qualities? In addition to the lower price than the average, it stands out for a solid plastic body and excellent build quality, as well as ease of programming. Secondly, the Baccara solenoid valve for irrigation with controller is able to manage the tap opening and closing operations with great precision. While it may seem almost like a toy compared to Claber’s valve controllers, it actually does its job well.

Any technical data? It has a female thread, allows you to program up to 3 operations per day, obviously has a built-in lithium battery, and allows you to set up to 3 different programs. In addition, you can also open the valve manually and establish for which days of the week to activate irrigation, the start times and the timer. In summary, a nice low-cost solution to catch the classic two birds with one stone.

How to choose the solenoid valve for irrigation systems

1. Voltage and types

As I have anticipated several times, it is very important to underline the differences between two macro categories of solenoid valves for irrigation: the models to be connected to the indoor control units, and those that instead must be connected to the cockpit programmers. It is fundamental for a question of compatibility: the valve solenoid, in fact, must be set up to receive a certain voltage from the control unit, since otherwise it could fail or not work correctly.

  • 24 volt irrigation solenoid valve: must be connected to the programmer by a series of cables. It is alternating current and is only compatible with indoor timers, to be wired to the 220 volt home electrical network and capable of sending 24 volt electrical signals.
  • 9 volt solenoid valve: this valve is special, it works with direct current and can only be connected to the battery timers, that is the cockpit models. It is designed to receive a 9 volt electrical signal, i.e. the one emitted by the programmer’s own battery.

Of course, also remember the “special” solenoid valves, that is those that already integrate the programmable control unit. The latter are independent, since they do not need to be connected to a programmer, but also in this case it is good to make a distinction between two categories.

  • Solenoid valve for cockpit: it is basically a valve to be inserted in the pit and equipped with a built-in programmable timer. It has battery and a convenient display that will allow you to set a wide range of classic timer parameters.
  • Valve to be installed on tap: also in this case the valve already integrates its own programmer, but it must be installed directly at the tap inlet. It is especially useful for managing small irrigation systems, such as those in the garden or vegetable garden.

As you can see, the distinctions between the various models are not complicated at all, but it was necessary to do some clarity. Especially if you have never installed an irrigation system, knowing this information will be essential for you.

2. Pressure and flow

Before purchasing any solenoid valve for an irrigation system, always check that it is able to withstand a certain operating pressure. Usually these small devices are able to tolerate a pressure level from a minimum of 0.5 bar up to a maximum of about 12 bar. The water flow, on the other hand, starts from about 4.6 liters per minute up to a maximum of 96 liters per minute. What happens if the pressure is too high or too low?

  • Insufficient pressure: The valve will simply not work, as the diaphragm chamber will not be able to hydraulically charge. In other words, too low pressure will not allow it to close.
  • Pressure too high: if the pressure is higher than the capacity of the valve, the so-called “water hammer” will occur. That is when you hear a bang and the tube begins to vibrate and tremble, both when you open the valve and when you close it. Be careful, because the water hammer can seriously damage the plant.

What to do if the blood pressure is too high or too low? You can install pressure reducers or regulators, or opt for special solenoid valves equipped with a slow closing system: the latter are useful as, in case of high pressure, they help prevent water hammer.

Also be aware that many irrigation solenoid valves have a device known as flow control. It is a knob or a washer that allows you to adjust the outgoing water flow and its pressure.

3. Threading of the water inlet / outlet holes

Obviously, since the garden solenoid valves are real taps, there are two holes: the first for the water inlet and the second for its outlet. The two channels are divided by a membrane mechanism that opens or closes according to the command sent by the control unit, and which therefore allows the water to exit in the direction of the garden sprinklers.

The channels in question always have a certain thread, which can be male or female. Also consider that the thread is always the same: if the input channel is male, for example, the output channel will be too, therefore either male-male or female-female.

  • Male-male thread: it is very convenient when you need to connect the input channel of the device to a manifold for solenoid valves, in the case of creating a pit system. For the connection to a pipe, however, you will need to use a male fitting.
  • Female-female thread: they are easier to disassemble, and require the use of a male-male nipple. In addition, this thread also makes the maintenance phase easier.

In reality it is almost indifferent to choose one thread or the other, since the differences are all in all few. On the other hand, knowing this information will help you make a more suitable choice for the use you want to make of the solenoid valves.

4. Manual opening of the valve

You probably know this already, but garden solenoid valves can also be opened manually. In this way you can activate the irrigation without having to mount a control unit, and it is a very simple operation. To do this, in fact, all you have to do is turn the solenoid counterclockwise, generally a quarter or half turn. To close, you will have to do the reverse operation, i.e. turn the solenoid clockwise.

Frequently asked questions and answers

1. The solenoid valve is leaking water: why?

Sometimes it happens that the valve can lose water once the irrigation operations are finished. This is a phenomenon known as “leakage”, and occurs when the device fails to close properly due to the presence of debris that hinder the movement of the membrane. It is solved by cleaning each component of the valve, and if during maintenance a damaged diaphragm is noticed, the latter must be replaced.

2. Why does the valve irrigate without controls?

Why does the solenoid valve continue to irrigate, even if no specific program has been started? This could depend on several factors: from dirt that prevents the membrane from closing correctly, for example, but also from a previous manual opening of the solenoid. It could also be due to too low water pressure, which prevents the membrane from charging hydraulically to close the tap.

This happens even if the flow rate is too low, but in this case you just need to act on the specific flow control mechanism.

3. Why does the valve not open properly?

Also in this case we can find several causes, such as the total closure of the flow control mechanism. The problem also occurs when the valve is coupled to a control unit with an incompatible voltage, or due to the failure of the latter. It could also happen due to damage to the electrical cables connecting to the timer, or to a failure of the solenoid.


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