Rachio 3: Water-Wise, Smart Sprinkler Controller

With more concern over water conservation, more homeowners are looking for a sprinkler system controller that can help them be smart with watering their lawn and yard. In recent years, Rachio has offered various models, the latest being the Rachio 3.

Priced at $189.99 for eight zones (which is the one I added to my sprinkler system) and $239.99 for 16 zones, the Rachio 3 is a flexible smart sprinkler controller. Here’s my review.

Features

The WaterSense–certified sprinkler controller has a Weather Intelligence Plus (WIP) service that provides weather forecasts based on local weather reports as well as satellite, radar, and atmospheric flight data. This helps guide the watering cycle for that time period.

Rachio 3 integrates with many smart home controllers and devices. These include Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, HomeKit, IFTTT, SmartThings, Wink, Xfinity, Control4, and Nexia. This is a competitive advantage for the Rachio 3 because other sprinkler controllers don’t offer that same number of integrations.  For example, voice control with Apple’s Siri lets you turn the sprinklers on and off.

The Rachio 3’s app gives you a home screen that shows the controller status, the weather forecast, the last sprinkler run and the next one, and a graphic with water used and saved.

Watering Schedules

There two options for watering schedules: a time-based schedule or device-generated schedule. Both options offer watering restrictions and work with the Weather Intelligence Plus feature. I went with the device-generated schedule. It used the Flexible Daily option, which updates every day based on the soil moisture.

You can use smart features like the Smart Cycle. This is a cycle-and-soak feature that divides watering into multiple shorter cycles. The Rachio 3 knew when a rainstorm was coming and shut off on its own, which helped us not waste water.

Pros and Cons

The things I like about this smart watering device include ease of use, integrations with other smart home devices, features and watering cycle options, and the hyperlocal weather information. The device looks nice and is designed to fit well where another traditional sprinkler controller was placed.

The only real downside to this smart watering device is that it’s not waterproof. You can make it waterproof by purchasing a cover separately. It would have been nice to have just included the cover as a feature rather than option. Some may feel the price is steep for the smart sprinkler device, but the return in the form of a lower water bill made it worth the cost.

Where to Buy

The Rachio 3 is available on the company’s website as well as through retailers like Amazon and Costco as well as major DIY stores.

Final Thoughts on the Rachio 3

This smart water controller delivers good value and has already shown the return on investment in terms of water savings. Plus, it works with so many other smart home devices. It’s easy to install and use, helping homeowners start making a difference in how much water they use.

The app and smart device integration sets the Rachio 3 above and apart from the rest of the devices. Overall, I was pleased with the significant water savings just by installing this smart device.

 

 

 

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Star Brood
Star Brood
7 months ago

Here’s a tip from me to whoever: get a dehumidifier if you live in a humid place. Even if you have an air conditioner. Dehumidifiers help the AC run more efficiently while giving you water for your indoor or patio plants (not suitable for watering an entire garden of course).

Joe in texas
Joe in texas
7 months ago

The savings are no joke. I live in an area which charges us fees greater than we actually pay for the water in order to convert our watershed area off of groundwater. Water bills of $240 for 1/4 acre to keep everything barely alive were common.
 
now I’m hitting $70-$90 a month in Houston in July, and grass and shrubs are healthier. I’m the biggest Rachio fan, and should have done it when I moved in. I’ve converted neighbors by showing my annual water usage at the bus stop. It is outstanding.

Waco
Waco
7 months ago

You’ve already saved $190 in water since you installed this? I wish TR wouldn’t stoop to posting such blatant ads with essentially zero content.

chuckula
7 months ago
Reply to  Waco

From what I’ve heard about the cost of water in California, I don’t doubt that this is possible.
 
The thing that got me about this controller is that it’s not what I’ll call an H20 router. I was under the impression that it would take in one input hose and have multiple output hoses that can be switched on and off…. but no, it’s only electronics in here that need to be wired up to some other actuator to turn water on/off.

Marc
Marc
7 months ago
Reply to  Waco

We’ve got a much cheaper programmable controller that accommodates up to 8 valves (stations). We don’t want or need wifi connection. If you’ve got a soil moisture sensor or a rain sensor attached, you also don’t need a (possibly inaccurate) weather forecast, since it senses moisture in real time.
More expensive bling for the purpose of consumer data collection. No thanks.

derFunkenstein
derFunkenstein
7 months ago
Reply to  Waco

I save water (and money on irrigation systems) by letting my yard turn brown

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