Rachio is a company that is best known for their innovative smart sprinkler systems. By connecting their sprinkler controllers to your Wi-Fi system, you can connect to your phone or tablet to wirelessly control your sprinklers, making watering your garden so much more convenient and consistent. Rachio has set itself apart from competing brands by becoming the highest and most-rated smart sprinkler brand on Amazon due to its impressive collection of features that optimize your home sprinklers.
Today, we’re going to be examining Rachio’s second and third generation of smart watering controllers to determine which one offers better care of your garden. Both models share several similarities; zone quantity features, watering schedule customization, and an app that allows you to control your system from anywhere you receive Wi-Fi.
However, it can be tough to decide if the newer model is worth, the higher cost. We’re going to compare these two models in the following categories, as these are the areas in which they differ the most: schedule adaptation based on local weather, Wi-Fi connectivity, and water preservation methods.
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Rachio’s 2nd Generation model makes itself smarter than other sprinkler systems by connecting to your Wi-Fi network in order to gather data from local weather forecasts. By analyzing local weather predictions, it determines when to skip watering, especially during times of rain, snow, or high wind speeds.
Rachio knows that watering your garden is unnecessary in these conditions, so this feature will actively save you money on your water bill and will prevent your plants from being overwatered. Similarly, it will schedule watering more frequently during hotter weather or in extended periods of low rainfall.
Like its predecessor, the Rachio 3 utilizes local weather predictions to save water and prevent over-watering your plants. It also features Weather Intelligent Plus technology, which cross-references local weather forecasts with radar and satellite information. Because this data is more up-to-date and factors in actual weather activity instead of simple predictions, it programs the most intelligent watering schedules possible for your garden.
This feature is an undeniable asset for those who live in places with more chaotic weather patterns, such as coastal and mountainous areas. Its use of advanced weather tracking gives you more peace of mind and ensures that you’ll never again have to worry about the weather interfering with your garden’s growth.
Conclusion: With its more up-to-date and accurate analysis of local weather activity, Rachio’s 3rd Generation has the upper hand in this category. Its use of satellite and radar data offers immediate alterations to your schedule, giving you the upper hand on the often-unpredictable Mother Nature. While the 2nd Generation also takes weather into account when watering your lawn, it bases its schedules on forecasts, which aren’t always correct.
As we’ve already mentioned, Rachio’s 2nd Generation sprinkler controller connects to your Wi-Fi network in order to access weather forecasts. The Wi-Fi connection is established through the Rachio smart device app, which allows you to control your sprinkler system from wherever you want wirelessly. This product is compatible with 2.4GHz routers and dual-band networks, but cannot support a connection to a 5GHz router. Using a 2.4GHz connection allows you to place your controller farther away from your router, making setting up near your garden more convenient.
The 3rd Generation of sprinkler controller is also set up through the Rachio’s smart device app, which offers the exact same features and interface as the 2nd Generation. The biggest difference between the two models regarding Wi-Fi connectivity lies in the 3rd Generation’s ability to connect to networks with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
The 5GHz connection will require you to set up your controller closer to your router than the 2nd Generation, which can limit your set-up possibilities a bit. However, the 5GHz connection offers a faster and more immediate connection to your wireless network, making it the superior choice for devices that need an optimal, uninterrupted connection to the Internet.
Conclusion: The biggest draw of using this brand of smart sprinkler is its ability to tap into local weather forecasts as well as radar and satellite data. It’s ultimately better to have a faster connection to your Wi-Fi system so the app can make more informed edits to your normal watering schedule. The 3rd Generation model has the upper hand here due to its ability to connect to the faster and more stable 5GHz router frequency.
The 2nd Generation controller actively helps save you water by tracking local weather trends and skipping watering times when your garden already has enough water or when watering isn’t necessary. Because of this, it has been certified by the EPA’s WaterSense program, which identifies products that are designed to limit excessive water use. Because of this certification, you may be eligible for local rebates that could potentially save you up to 100% of the cost of the product, meaning that you could start saving money on your monthly water bill without it costing an arm and a leg.
The 3rd Generation controller also excels at saving you water (and money) through its intelligent skip feature and is also certified by the WaterSense initiative. It is also the only Rachio product that is compatible with their Wireless Flow Meter, a device that gives you a better picture of your sprinkler system’s overall productivity. This device monitors the watering of each zone in your garden to determine a baseline amount of water used each time. If any dips in productivity are found—often from leaks or interference of your garden’s root networks—the Flow Meter will instantly stop watering and send an alert through the Rachio app. This makes it faster and easier to repair your sprinklers to optimal performance, thus saving you money on your water bill.
Conclusion: There is no difference between the water saving potential of these two models as they come. If you want to purchase the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter and add it to your 3rd Generation controller, however, you’ll be able to prevent your sprinkler system from leaking or becoming clogged by dirt, debris, or roots. In this case, the 3rd Generation would have the upper hand in this category.
And the Winner is…
As it may be assumed, the 3rd (and newest) Generation of Rachio’s smart sprinkler controller offers more impressive and up-to-date features than its 2nd Generation. The 3rd Generation can do more due to its faster connection to your Wi-Fi network, ability to access radar and satellite data, and superior water preservation features.
However, it’s important to note that the Rachio 2nd Generation controller offers many of the same features as its successor, so if you’re looking to make your entry into the world of smart sprinkler controllers or are simply trying to save a little money, this model will serve your purposes as well.