Irrigation design software offers precise measurements and calculations, ensuring accurate settings of irrigation components to eliminate guesswork, and lower the risk of errors that could lead to inefficient watering or system malfunctions. Plus, its rich pre-made symbols and templates for irrigation components can be easily revised and edited without the need to start over from scratch, saving time and effort compared to hand-drawn plans. This makes CAD software play a crucial role in irrigation design as well. So, forget the days of hand-drawn maps and manual calculations.
Whether you’re a seasoned farmer seeking an upgrade or a newcomer charting your agricultural course, the right software can be your secret weapon. In this article, there are our 8 best irrigation design software picks, hand-chosen for diverse farming needs. Let’s get started!
Top 1. ZWCAD
Best for: Irrigation design beginners and professionals, contractors, and engineers.
Overview: ZWCAD is a versatile CAD software that enables users to create various design types, including irrigation system drawings. It offers an array of powerful drawing features, including GIS integration and measurement annotation tools, which can help in creating precise irrigation system designs. Additionally, its 3D model can be used to create a 3D irrigation system, enabling a better evaluation of the simulation system’s operational performance. Plus, supporting various file formats like DWG makes it an ideal option to collaborate with other people.
However, ZWCAD is not specifically tailored for irrigation systems, fortunately, it allows users to customize the irrigation system design software by using LISP, VBA, ZRX, etc., to meet their irrigation needs. Additionally, the software is reasonably priced compared to other professional software and supports one-time purchases. If you are a beginner or only need to create irrigation system layouts, ZWCAD is an excellent choice.
- Enable to create 2D plans for irrigation maps and visualize irrigation design in 3D.
- Offer libraries of designing elements for irrigation sprinkle system design, with customizable symbols.
- Support one-time purchases at a reasonable price.
- Beginner-friendly but with professional design features for both beginners and professionals.
- Easy to develop or migrate third-party applications using its customization features such as LISP, VBA, ZRX, and NET APIs.
Pricing: Subscription starts at $322/year; One-time purchase supported. >> Check details
Top 2. AutoCAD
Best for: Irrigation professionals, landscape professionals, designers, and engineers.
Overview: AutoCAD is a popular tool that can help visualize the design of irrigation systems in 3D. This industry-standard CAD software can be used for both 2D and 3D design requirements, such as drawing topographic maps, designing pipeline systems, and creating other irrigation system drawings. One of its greatest advantages is its powerful functionality and flexibility. AutoCAD is not only capable of creating complex graphics and designs but it can also be customized according to your specific needs, for example, adding the IRRICAD plugin for advanced irrigation design capabilities. Plus, it is also compatible with many other software, making it easy to integrate your design with other irrigation systems.
However, AutoCAD has a steep learning curve and can be expensive. If you are not familiar with AutoCAD, it is recommended that you receive additional training before starting irrigation system design. If all you need is to create design images and basic irrigation design functions, then ZWCAD is already sufficient.
- Offer libraries of symbols, precise drawings, and measurement tools for accurate layouts.
- Empower you to create custom symbols and blocks for irrigation components.
- Highly integrated with other irrigation design software for seamless collaboration.
- Provide GIS and data integration to optimize irrigation systems.
Pricing: Monthly subscription starts at $245; Yearly subscription starts at $1,975; 3-year subscription starts at $5,925.
Top 3. Pro Contractor Studio
Best for: Professional Irrigation contractors and consultants, landscape architects and designers, and other green industry professionals.
Overview: Pro Contractor Studio is an irrigation design software program specially designed for large-scale irrigation systems. It has advanced hydraulic calculation functions that can consider factors such as altitude changes, pipeline length, and friction losses to ensure optimal hydraulic performance, thereby avoiding problems such as low water pressure or uneven water distribution. Moreover, it includes a comprehensive plant database that contains information about thousands of different plant species, including their water requirements and growth characteristics. This is of great help in improving the accuracy of irrigation system design.
One of the main features of this irrigation system design software is that it integrates basic CAD software functions. Unlike some professional irrigation design software, it does not require any other CAD software to plan 2D design drawings of irrigation systems effortlessly. However, this software lacks 3D modeling capabilities, which may require users who want to visualize irrigation systems to consider other options.
- Performs advanced hydraulic analysis for optimal water distribution and pressure management.
- Generate material and labor estimates for cost tracking.
- Streamlines workflows with automated tasks function.
- High compatibility with other software for seamless collaboration.
- Comes with seamless CAD integration to plan 2D irrigation systems effortlessly.
- Feature a user-friendly interface to create professional-like designs for irrigation systems.
Pricing: Monthly subscription at the price of $40; Yearly subscription at the price of $400. Check for more details here.
Source: Pro Contractor Studio
Top 4. IRRICAD
Best for: Irrigation engineers, landscape architects and designers, facility managers, etc.
Overview: IRRICAD is a widely used industry standard irrigation design software. This versatile software can be used for irrigation projects of varying sizes and types, ranging from small residential projects to large-scale commercial applications, especially suitable for complex terrain and large areas. It helps in planning, designing, and analyzing irrigation systems with a comprehensive set of powerful features such as terrain analysis, hydraulic analysis, pipeline network design, sprinkler system design functions, etc.
Not only that, this irrigation system design software comes with built-in automatic calculation and optimization functions that can generate the optimal sprinkler system design and detailed design reports based on user input information and design parameters. This feature helps improve design efficiency and ensures optimal system performance in actual operation. However, it is important to note that IRRICAD can be expensive and has a steep learning curve, which may not be beginner-friendly.
- Support rapid hydraulic analysis and modeling with high efficiency.
- Generate terrain analysis integrated data.
- Auto-calculate the optimal pipe diameter.
- Offer libraries of powerful design tools like grade line analysis, spray line block creation, CAD functionality, etc.
- Enable remote monitoring and control of the system.
- Streamline your workflow with extensive customizable options.
Pricing: IRRICAD’s pricing is not publicly available on its website, but it comes with IRRICAD Standalone and IRRICAD Link with at least a $50 subscription per month or perpetual licenses starting at thousands of dollars. Check out more here.
Top 5. IrriRT
Best for: Architects, engineers, landscapers and green design technicians。
Overview: IrriRT is a software developed by IrriWorks, a leading enterprise in the water modeling software industry. It is designed for the Windows operating system and focuses on the design of landscape irrigation systems. This irrigation design software provides terrain modeling tools and advanced algorithms, which can automatically draw pipelines and locate emitters. This helps users accurately evaluate the irrigation and operational quality of large and complex landscape areas.
The software also has powerful automation features, allowing users to use the integrated Google Maps console for automatic quoting and scaling surveys. This feature accelerates the design process of irrigation systems and helps users create solutions faster. In addition, IrriRT supports seamless access to CAD files, which is very useful for collaborating with designers who cannot access the software.
- Professional for both small and large irrigation system design projects in landscape, garden, residence, turf, and parks.
- Offer automated functions to streamline your workflow.
- Integrate GIS for more accurate and efficient water modeling.
- Apply advanced algorithms for optimal irrigation systems.
- Open and edit CAD files with a seamless collaboration experience.
Pricing: Yearly subscription starts at $330; Perpetual purchase at the price of $756. Check for more details here.
Top 6. Raindrop
Best for: Landscape architects, irrigation designers, and contractors.
Overview: For in-depth AutoCAD users seeking irrigation system design-related functions without installing additional software, Raindrop is what you need. This powerful plug-in is available for AutoCAD 2015+ and provides rich design features just like professional irrigation design software, such as GIS integration and hydrology models. Together with AutoCAD’s powerful measurement capabilities, Raindrop empowers you to create precise irrigation layouts for adequate plant hydration, with its frequently updated database.
Its seamless experience lets you plan your entire irrigation system with AutoCAD, saving you time and hassle. However, this plug-in does not support AutoCAD versions before 2015, so if the version you are using is too low, you will not be able to use the plug-in normally. Also, for truly advanced design tools and stable performance, dedicated irrigation design software can be a better choice to consider.
- Portable plug-in without a need to install extra software.
- Highly compatible with AutoCAD for no software switching.
- Offer accurate hydraulic calculations to create the optimal irrigation system design.
- Generate accurate reports with detailed information.
Pricing: Yearly subscription at the price of $400. Check more details here.
Top 7. IrriExpress
Best for: Irrigation contractors and installers, landscape architects and irrigation designers, agricultural engineers and consultants.
Overview: If what you need is lightweight but professional irrigation design software, then IrriExpess is the answer. IrriExpress is a cloud-based central pivot irrigation design software that can design a central pivot irrigation system based on terrain data, including parameters such as length, width, sprinkler head spacing, and more. It can also import terrain data from Google Maps or other sources and automatically generate contour maps. This is an irresistible utility for novice designers.
Not only does it meet the design needs of a variety of central pivot irrigation systems, but it also offers a variety of customization options to meet the specific needs of the user. And IrriExpress is a cloud-based software that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. But this also means that it has relatively high requirements for network stability.
- Offer built-in tools to automatically adjust pump pressure and pipe size for water flow optimization.
- Feature intuitive interface, offering the most commonly used professional functions.
- Generate customized reports with highlighted insights.
- Equip with CAD editing tools to visualize irrigation systems without a hassle.
- Relatively lightweight compared to professional irrigation design software.
Pricing: Perpetual license key starts at $1,000. Check for more pricing details here.
Top 8. IRRISketch
Best for: Irrigation designers and engineers, landscape professionals, Property Owners and Managers.
Overview: When a portable and easy-to-access design tool is what you need, IRRISketch, this online irrigation design software is the way to go. There is no need to download software or plug-ins, just open your browser and start designing your irrigation system in preparation for the construction of the irrigation project. It provides a wide range of basic irrigation system design features, including terrain analysis, layout sizing, report generation, and more. This can help farmers design efficient irrigation systems, saving time and money to improve irrigation efficiency.
It is ideal for the early stages of irrigation system design, making it easy to present the design concepts to the customer and to be able to make quick changes on the spot based on customer feedback. But unlike desktop software, it requires a highly stable network to run. In a place with a bad network, it can’t be used normally.
- Online irrigation design software for no installation.
- Offer an online community for users to exchange ideas and build a network.
- Provide abundant tutorials for beginners to explore.
- Serve as an easy but professional irrigation design software for both seasoned and new users.
Pricing: Monthly subscription starts at $123.86; Yearly subscription starts at $484.67. Check for more pricing details here.
A Quick Comparison of the 8 Irrigation Design Software
|Ease of Use
|Free trial, $322/year, $899 for a one-time purchase
|Free trial, $1,975/year
|Pro Contractor Studio
|Free trial, $40/month, $400/year
|Expensive but no exact price publicly
|$330/year, $756 for perpetual license
|$1,000 for a one-time purchase
In summary, the 8 software options mentioned above can cater to your diverse requirements for irrigation system design. If you seek advanced and professional irrigation design software, then IRRICAD is your best bet. Although it may be relatively expensive, this software boasts CAD capabilities and real-time monitoring features, which can comprehensively fulfill all your functional needs. Alternatively, you can opt for a more affordable option, Pro Contractor Studio.
Moreover, if you are a beginner and looking for reasonably priced software to learn how to design irrigation system layouts, then you can consider ZWCAD. While AutoCAD also offers similar capabilities, it is more suited for professionals with sufficient budgets.
FAQs About Irrigation Design Software
Is There Irrigation Design Software Free?
Unfortunately, there is no free irrigation design software available to meet your professional needs, especially landscape or residential irrigation design software for free. Although some software such as Pro Contractor Studio provide free plans for users to design irrigation systems for free, they do not support the saving and printing service. However, if what you need is irrigation design software that can meet basic irrigation needs, then there is no need to pursue professional irrigation design software for free. A lot of free 2D CAD software on the market can help you.
Why Do I Need Irrigation Design Software?
The biggest feature of irrigation design software is that it can greatly improve the work efficiency of users. Unlike traditional manual calculation methods, professional irrigation design software has advanced algorithms that can quickly and accurately calculate the water requirements of plants.
With it, it is effortless to develop effective irrigation plans, improve the efficiency of water resource utilization in farmland, ensure that plants receive sufficient water throughout the entire growing season, and thereby maximize farmland yield, for both experienced and novice farmers. Moreover, this also helps to reduce irrigation costs, making your agricultural production more economically efficient.
Overall, traditional design methods are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and difficult to accurately predict system performance. Nowadays, irrigation design software provides convenience for farmers to design irrigation systems. The above 8 best irrigation design software cover your various design needs in the agricultural production process and can help you quickly create precise and effective irrigation system plans. After reading this article, we believe you have also found a good helper that can meet your needs. If this article has been helpful to you, please share it to benefit more people.