Smart technology has entered the irrigation technology just as it has done to the world of phones, security cameras, tablets, microphones, headphones, and so on. Today, we are saying goodbye to the automatic irrigation controller timers, which, although they did a good job, they had a challenge as nobody would be available to adjust the controllers when the weather changed.
During summertime, people struggle to keep their lawns green. But with the fact that droughts are becoming more frequent, it becomes paramount to save on water even as you strive to keep the lawn green. The most significant cause of wasteful watering of lawns is caused by automated watering systems that are not smart, and they do not understand the various weather patterns. Chris Klein, who is the CEO of Rachio, came up with the idea of having a smart sprinkler after seeing the wasteful nature of automated sprinkler systems. The company came up with a product that you can control using a smartphone and can monitor the weather and also allow you to view your usage history.
Rachio is not the only company that offers smart sprinklers. There are other companies, such as RainMachine, that have a reputation for making smart sprinklers that you can trust. In this article, we want to look at smart sprinklers from the two companies and see how they perform and which one you should pick over the other.
Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick!
This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and just need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!
Smart Assistant Compatibility?/App
Rain, Soil & Flow
8 & 16
8,12 & 16
Other Great Recommendations
9.1 x 1.4 x 5.6
6 x 6 x 1
Similarities: Rachio and RainMachine
One reason for using smart sprinklers is to reduce water wastage. It will, therefore, be wastage if your sprinkler continues to spray even when it is raining as the automated sprinklers will do. Rachio and RainMachine come with rain sensors that enable them to stop watering while mother nature is doing it herself, thereby helping to prevent water wastage.
Maybe you are wondering, what happens if I have a large garden? Well, worry no more as the smart sprinklers from the two brands offer you an 8-zone model and a 16-zone model so that you can be sure to get a sprinkler that will work for you whether you are watering a small garden or a large piece of land.
When you want to buy a smart sprinkler, it would be a definite plus to get a product that will work with your smart home hub so that you can control it and other smart home devices from one centre. Thus, Rachio and RainMachine work with a variety of smart home hubs, including SmartThings, Nest Hub, and so on.
It would also be an impressive thing if you would have the opportunity to control your device using your voice as much as you have the app control. In that aspect, the two products support the use of voice control assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so that you can control them using your voice.
Being smart devices would mean nothing without connectivity. The two brands support WiFi connectivity over 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n connections. Additionally, you can control the devices using a mobile app that is available for both iOS and Android devices.
The two brands are the top brands in the smart sprinkler world, and as such, their products come with a two-year warranty, which gives you confidence that what you are buying is high quality.
As much as you can control the devices using the Smartphone app, they also come with on-device controls, which allows you to control the devices on the model itself, which is also an impressive addition.
Let us now look at each device in-depth, its features and specifications so that we can tell them apart.
The Duel: For The Best Smart Irrigation Controllers
This smart sprinkler has an easy DIY installation process that takes you around 30 minutes to complete. First, you will need to download and install the app on your phone or laptop and then follow the step by step instructions on the app that will guide you through the installation process.
The whole essence of using a smart irrigation controller is to try and save as much water as possible. Water wastage is so wrong that some states have enforced regulations to try and curb water shortage. When you use the Rachio smart controller, you save 30% more water as compared to when you use an automated sprinkler.
Another factor that helps in saving water is the fact that the device uses water in your garden only when the garden requires it. For instance, it would make no sense sprinkling your garden while it is raining. Apart from the wastage, the excess water may lead to damage to your crops. The device, therefore, comes with rain sensors that detect when it is raining so that it can stop watering your garden.
Apart from helping you in setting up the Rachio smart sprinkler, the app that is available for iOS, Android and laptop version comes in handy in assisting you in controlling the device such that you can do it from anywhere across the globe. You can also monitor your device's status, schedule necessary changes, and also get real-time reports of what you save by using the device.
Being a smart device, it is paramount to have the device work with other smart devices in your house. As such, Rachio smart irrigation controller is compatible with smart hubs such as SmartThings and Nest Hub, which enable you to control all your smart devices, including the Rachio smart controller, from one centre. Additionally, the device works with Alexa voice assistant so that you can use your voice to control it, which makes it more convenient.
Without a doubt, using the app to control the device is convenient. Nevertheless, it is a plus if you can have controls on the device. Rachio smart irrigation controller comes with controls on the model itself, which allows you to control it without using the app.
Being a smart device would mean nothing without an internet connection. Rachio smart sprinkler supports a dual-band WiFi connection that is 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
It also comes with a master valve and pump control.
The Rachio smart sprinkler package comes with an AC power, mounting hardware, smart sprinkler controller, and an installation guide that is easy to understand and helps you in case you have a problem during the installation process.
Rachio Iro 8-zone smart irrigation controller will cost you $159.99, while the 16-zone costs $173.95.
The smart sprinkler measures 10.4 x 7.7 x 3.2 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds, and it is available in white.
Under the white cover are buttons that help you to start or stop the watering, as well as enabling you to select zones.
- Amazon Alexa support
- Manual control
- Water-saving leading to a reduced water bill
- Easy to install
- Mobile application
- Weather forecast
- It has limited onboard controls
- You cannot run multiple zones at once
Nowadays, people look for devices that are easy to activate and are not hard to install. RainMachine's installation process is so easy. If you get stuck anywhere, you do not have to worry as the smart controller comes with a user manual that you can always consult for guidance.
RainMachine is EPA water sense certified, and you can smart schedule the device and make real-time weather adjustments so that the device will only water when it is supposed to, thereby helping you to save a lot of water. It also comes with rain sensors that ensure that the sprinkler will not water your garden when it is raining. This not only saves water but also ensures your plants will not get damaged by the excess water.
Unlike the Rachio smart controller, RainMachine stands out as it continues to work offline even when the WiFi network is down, which makes it cloud independent. The fact that it is cloud independent means that you can have all personal data stored locally.
With this smart irrigation controller, you get access to NOAA, OpenWeatherMap, NetAtmo, Wunderground, and so on so that you can get free weather data. The real-time weather data is essential as it helps in calculating the amount of water that is enough for your plants.
Depending on how the climate is, RainMachine smart irrigation controller assures you to save up to 80% water, which means a reduced water bill; thus, the device will pay itself within a short time.
Additionally, the device offers you real-time monitoring of your water usage and saving. You just need to look for the mobile app on Google Play or Apple Store and download it on your phone, tablet, or laptop and start controlling your device. The app also provides a dashboard on which you can see everything you need to know about your garden and weather. You can still put the phone in a landscape mode if you want to see more detail, such as the monthly or yearly graphs.
If you are looking for a device that offers you easy controls, RainMachine is your device. It comes with a touch interface that enables you to have easy control of the device. You can start, stop, or program a zone using the interface, and it has white LED touch keys that illuminate at night, helping you to use the device even when it is dark. When the device is not in use, it only displays a WiFi icon that you can see from 20ft away.
What about a device that allows you to use your voice to control it? Yes, RainMachine supports Amazon Alexa's voice assistant that will enable you to use your voice to control the device.
RainMachine smart irrigation controller will cost you $169.
RainMachine smart irrigation controller is one of the sleekest, eye-catching, and elegant, smart controllers that you can find in the market. It also comes with a touch interface that works smoothly, thereby making it easy for you to control it.
The smart irrigation controller measures 5.9 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches and weighs 11 ounces.
- Sleek and elegant design
- Touch interface
- Allows for local control
- It is cloud independent
- Weather forecast
- Has a mobile application
- Rain sensors
Differences: Rachio and RainMachine Smart Irrigation Controllers
The Rachio model offers 8 or 16 zone options. At the same time, RainMachine offers an 8 or 16 zone option plus an additional 12 zone option.
While RainMachine offers only rain sensors, Rachio offers more sensors option with rain sensors, soil sensors, and flow sensors.
The two devices support a 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connection, but Rachio Gen 3 stands out for supporting 5 GHz.
One thing that makes RainMachine stand ahead of the Rachio is that it allows local connect, and it can still be used even when your WiFi is down.
The Rachio model is dependent on the cloud to carry out commands. On the other hand, RainMachine is self-reliant and does not depend on the cloud to carry out commands.
Both models are ideal for indoor use. However, RainMachine is not suitable for outdoor use in cold climates as it lacks weatherproofing.
RainMachine is the best smart irrigation controller that takes the number one spot between the two. The device is not only sleek and durable, but it also offers some exciting features and functionalities. The device works with Amazon Alexa's voice assistant that allows you to control it using your voice. It is also compatible with smart home hubs such as SmartThings so that you can manage all your smart devices from one centre. You can also use the touch interface on the device to give commands, which is a good plus as it gets the struggle away from using apps to control and monitor the device.
One main advantage with the RainMachine smart irrigation controller is that it is not cloud-dependent, which means it will continue to function even when the WiFi is down. As such, you will only need to make your investment once while buying the device, and then from there, the device will remain functional.
Why we love the RainMachine more than Rachio is its ability to perform well in any situation, with or without connection.
As much as the Rachio Smart Sprinkler is ideal for outdoor use in cold conditions, this feature is not part of the sprinkler. You have to buy the Rachio Weatherproofing Casing, which adds to the amount you spend. If you consider the total costs you incur, especially with the sprinkler’s usual pricing being higher than RainMachine’s, the unit may not favor you if your budget is slim.
Not to mention, you have more zone options with the RainMachine than with Rachio.
However, Rachio also stands out with its 5GHz support and having more sensors. So, it still offers you a worthwhile alternative.