Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Skydrop company starting to charge users for use of their sprinkler controller. Despite it only being $2 a month, I was determined not to pay for something I already paid for.
This lead me down the path of researching sprinkler controllers. I’ve found one that works for me and after using it for a month, I couldn’t be happier.
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
The controller I chose is the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.
What sold me on this controller was not only the aesthetics of it, but its app, price point, and integration with Samsung’s SmartThings. At $225, I felt that it offered a lot of bang for buck compared to its competitors.
The first thing to do is unbox.
Inside you’ll find the sprinkler controller, a wall plug to power it, and instructions on how to set it up. If you already have a sprinkler controller, hardware setup is very easy.
You’ll want to start with taking a picture of your original connections. This is important because you need to track which wire correlates with which zone.
Once you’ve got that picture, you’ll want to unplug your old controller and disconnect the wires. Make sure that there is no power going to your old controller before disconnecting anything. If you don’t, you risk shocking yourself.
After disconnecting all the wires, mount your Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller where you want it and reconnect the wires in the same ports as your old controller.
You’ll notice that the ports are labeled very similarly. You’ll have a wire for Common, a wire for the master controller (if you sprinkler system has this), and wires for each zone. You can also add water sensors, if you have those.
I did like the fact that the Skydrop controller had a built in level. I had to use my level to make sure my current controller was good.
After the wires are attached and the controller is plugged in, you can put the front on and download the app for your phone. The front attaches using some strong magnets. That makes it easy to remove if you need to.
Rachio 3 App
When the controller turns on, it has a nice blue light showing it has power and it’s working. At this point, you’ll want to go through setup with the app. The app will guide you through getting the controller on its WiFi and setting up the zones. Don’t be surprised if your controller upgrades its firmware. Mine did this and it took about 2 minutes.
Once the app is done, you can start setting up your custom zones. I really loved the ability to add pictures for each of zone. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also makes it easier to reference what you’re turning on.
The app is very well built. The buttons are large enough that, even when your fingers are wet due to working on the sprinklers, they’re easy to get to. The added pictures make it easy to quickly find the zone you’re looking for.
The app also has a calendar that shows the sprinkler schedule, the ability to have multiple schedules, and a weather portion that shows when it thinks you’re going to have rain and it doesn’t need to water.
After getting the Rachio app set up, I wanted to get to my next selling point: SmartThings integration.
Samsung SmartThings Integration
The first thing you’ll want to do is go into the SmartThings app and add a new device. You’ll find Rachio under the Irrigation section.
Go through the setup, log into your Rachio account, and you’ll be presented with the following screen to allow the 2 services to connect.
Once connected, you’ll need to select which controller you want to use (if you have multiple) and which zones you want available to SmartThings.
Further down, you’ll also find an option to set a default watering time.
Once you’ve imported your zones in, you’ll find a listing of them in your SmartThings device list.
You can now click on the On/Off toggle to control your sprinkler zones individually. If you click on a zone, you’ll also be presented with some additional options.
I really couldn’t be happier with my Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller. The device is built well and the hardware doesn’t feel cheap to the touch. The Rachio 3 app is fast to the touch. It does exactly what you need it to do, and does it in a way that’s very pleasing to the eye.
The SmartThings integration is also some of the best I’ve ever seen. You not only have each zone available to you, but you have a lot of options when using each one. This isn’t a quick port to get things working – Rachio clearly spent a lot of time integrating these two devices to make them work together.
If you’re looking for a smart sprinkler controller, the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is an excellent choice.