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Binary Review: Rachio WiFi Smart Sprinkler

4 min read

This is a personal review of the Rachio WiFi Smart Sprinkler controller. I was so impressed by what it did for my watering and my water bill I felt I had to write a review about it.

A month ago my 10 year old, standard sprinker controler started to malfunction. It wouldn’t start properly, the clock kept losing time and my sprinkers would run in the middle of the day and it would pick random settings. Basically I had to replace it. I headed over to Lowe’s looking for one that could cover 8 zones. They had two options, one was a standard controller where you set the schedules and settings and let it run and the other was the Rachio Gen 2 (which was on sale). My neighbor had one and talked about it for about $30 more I decided to get the Smart Sprinkler.

The model I bought was the Rachio Gen 2 and paid $149 for it. The Generation 3 is now out and goes for $100 more at $249 and after comparing the two the additional features on the Gen 3, in my opinion, aren’t enough to wish I bought that one.

Here are the primary features of the unit:

  • Works with almost any existing sprinkler system.
  • Controller installation in under 30 minutes – no special tools or expertise required.
  • Control and monitor watering from the Rachio App on your smartphone or directly from the controller.
  • Compatible with smart home platforms like Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more.
  • Standard Weather Intelligence™ with Rain, Freeze, Wind, Saturation Skips and more.
  • Supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.
  • Available in 8 or 16-zone models.
  • Optional weatherproof outdoor enclosure available.

I brought it home and installed it. I noted the wiring setup on the old one, removed the old panel and installed the Rachio. It was as simple as sliding in a wire and snapping it in place. Couldn’t be any easier for the physical install of the unit.

After the panel install I downloaded the Rachio App and proceeded with the system setup. That setup was pretty simple as well. You use the app to get the device to connect to your Wifi and from there the rest was just as easy and took me about 30 minutes to get all my zones configured and running.

You go zone to zone and fill out details about the yard. The type of soil, grass and slope are entered, you can even add photos of the area, and Rachio will calculate the right watering settings for the ground. Where the Rachio unit goes to the next level is the weather analysis. You connect the unit to the nearest weather station and it will take all your data and alayze it against the current and future weather forecasts and set your watering schedule dynamically.

I installed my Rachio on ne 28th and as of July 16th it has yet to run a cycle. Not because it is not working but because of the rains and weather we have had it has delayed the schedule run multiple times. My yard is just as green as it has been and I have saved almost a month’s work of lawn watering which has almost paid for the unit in the first 3 weeks of use. My old unit would run every other day, my rain detector broke years ago and I would shut it off manually if it was raining a bunch but turn it back on a day or two later. The Rachio takes care of that for you. That’s the impressive part of it, a smart home device that actually uses intelligence to provide a value you can see. The picutre below was from July 16th, as you can see the next watering day was pushed out to the 25th. Nearly 10 days out because of the extensive rain forecasted.

This is where Rachio is going to break open home automation, money savings as well as conservation. Whether you are ‘green’ or not, you cannot deny that saving money on your water bill is a wonderful feeling. Saving water by not dumping into a lawn that doesn’t need it is a fantastic outcome as well. I look around my neighborhood and regardless of the weather most are watering on a schedule, every other day (my town’s ordinance is watering on even or odd days depending on your home address number). It’s easy to see that this is working for my lawn by just looking at it compared to the others, no difference.

The Rachio is smart enough to let nature do it’s job and my sprinklers now are supplemental to what falls from the sky.

End of line.

 

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