This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rachio. All opinions are 100% mine.
Watering the lawn and sprinkler systems are not topics that normally come to mind within the context of technical solutions that we normally cover.
However, today our topic is just that – a technical solution that streamlines, simplifies and automates the process of keeping the grass in your yard optimally hydrated.
The product – Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller essentially turns your plain-old sprinkler system into a smart device. It allows you to customize the watering schedule based on a number of factors while also adding an element of artificial intelligence with its exclusive Weather Intelligence™ feature which uses local weather forecast data to automatically adjust the irrigation schedule.
The Smart Sprinkler Controller, in essence – “learns” about your lawn and helps you optimize it’s watering schedule to conserve water while at the same time helping you Fix dead grass and maintain a healthy lawn.
Our tester, a talented IT tech had some concerns about his handy-man abilities. Fortunately installation and configuration of the Smart Sprinkler Controller is quite simple and was completed in less than 30 minutes.
What’s in the box
Inside we have the Rachio 3 controller unit, a power adapter and instruction manual, along with a few screws and drywall mounts. There are no extraneous parts so it’s easy to tell what’s what and what goes where as soon as you open the box.
One interesting note is that the cover of the controller unit is magnetic so taking it off and placing it back on doesn’t require any force at all. It literally snaps into place on its own.
The process of installing the controller is very straightforward and consists of just 7 steps necessary to mount and connect the unit.
The installations steps are outlined clearly in the installation manual that comes with the unit and are easy to follow.
A handy mounting template is included to make it easy to mark the screw locations on the wall – to match the location of the holes in the unit.
The wiring ports of the controller are clearly marked (and described in the installation guide) – making it easy to figure out which wires go where.
Once the controller is installed and wired up to your sprinkler system – all that remains is to configure the watering schedule using the Rachio app. This is also a simple process – as the app is basically a “wizard” that takes you through the various available options. Once the app is set up to interface with your unit – you can control your sprinkler system from anywhere.
An important thing to note here is that the unit does have button controls (right on the face of the Rachio logo). These button controls allow you to manually Run, Pause and Skip schedules in case for whatever reason (WiFi being down for instance) you cannot control the unit via the app.
We won’t go step by step through the configuration process here, but will quickly touch on a few interesting features;
With your phone connected to your WiFi access point and geolocation enabled – the Rachio app will activate the Rachio Weather Intelligence PLUS™ feature which aggregates weather-related data localized to a 36 ft radius of your home. This feature relieves you from having to do the forecast-related planning yourself and offering a Smarter way to water your lawn .
Management of each zone is conveniently segmented as it is configured one by one via the app and you can name each zone and associate it with a picture to make it easy to identify zones at a glance as you configure the scheduling.
The Rachio app helps you decide what type of configuration is best for each zone as it takes you through a few questions to fine-tune the configuration:
Once zone-specific configuration is complete the app “wizard” proceeds with the particulars of the schedule itself – offering along the way useful information and suggestions to make your options easy to understand.
Overall the app is very intuitive. There is no extraneous steps and all the configuration options are clearly presented.
The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is highly rated in the technical blogosphere (including a 4 star rating from CNET) and our team agrees that the high marks are well deserved.
The product is available with 8-zone coverage (as reviewed) at $229.99 as well as 16-zone coverage at $279.99.
You can take advantage of this promo code – 404TECH30 – good until July 15th for $30 off
For more information and to purchase the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, visit www.rachio.com.