Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (generation 2) review

Lots of smart home devices promise to revolutionize the ordinary with convenience you didn’t know you needed. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller actually fulfills that promise. Buy it, and you’ll no longer have to mess with the confusing dials and buttons of an ordinary sprinkler controller. Turn on your sprinklers with an app, or a voice command to the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. Better yet, let Rachio plan when to turn on your sprinklers for you based on the weather, and save money on water in the meantime.

It’s not without its flaws — the voice controls are wonky, you can’t do much with the onboard controls if your internet is out, and you can’t run multiple zones at once — but generally, the $200 to $250 Rachio 2nd Generation Smart Sprinkler Controller succeeds at what it sets out to do. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, the Rachio Controller is a great buy for the convenience it will add to your watering routine.

Extending the smart home outside

If you’re ready to upgrade, know that the Rachio Controller isn’t the only game in town. Fortunately, Rachio stacks up well next to the smart competition too.

Almost all smart sprinklers replace an existing controller for your in ground sprinkler system. Then, they connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, offer app controls, and help you save water by monitoring the weather and helping you adapt your schedule to accommodate for rain. Better yet, most smart controllers qualify for the EPA’s WaterSense program, allowing you to get rebates on your utility bill.

Rachio does all of that, and separates itself with its extra smart home integrations. It works with both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home (both are always-listening speakers that respond to voice commands)….

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