Water conservation is a big issue all over the world, and it’s becoming more critical every day. In fact, some states in the US are offering homeowners rebates for installing smart sprinkler systems like the ones we’ll be discussing in this comparison. What you’re purchasing here is a controller that can automate your irrigation precisely, even responding to weather forecasts to take temperature and precipitation into account – all this without you lifting a finger. In this comparison article we will have a look at the Rachio Smart Sprinkler and the RainMachine Touch HD-12.
These sprinkler controllers try to accomplish the same goals: to save water for the planet and to save money for you. The question is which of these devices will work best in your home. Both models offer an impressive list of features from smart home connectivity to zone-specific adjustment. It’s easy to control these systems through an app on your smartphone, and both are capable of interfacing with multiple weather services to aggregate the most accurate weather information available. So how do these features stack up against each other?
Smart Home Connectivity
Rachio Smart Sprinkler & RainMachine Touch HD-12
More and more people are outfitting their homes with smart technology every day. As protocols are developed to allow various devices to communicate with one another, customers are getting to experience the convenience of smart home networks that allow voice control of everything in your home from lights to music to air conditioning. Now you can add home irrigation to that list.
Both systems hook up easily to your smart home network. Whether you use Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or a number of other compatible network solutions, these controllers will interface seamlessly to provide you with maximum control. Control your sprinklers zone by zone from the comfort of your living room even if you left your phone in the kitchen. There’s not much difference between these two models as far as this feature goes, but it’s important to mention.
Verdict: Since both models provide the same features in this category, there’s no clear winner here. If you’re comparing other smart sprinkler models, however, this is an important feature to look for. Even if you’re not someone who utilizes a smart home network at the moment, the technology is becoming so cheap and available that you definitely want devices with at least the potential for smart home connectivity.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler
Controlling this device through a user-friendly smartphone app is easy. You can customize specific zones in your garden depending on what you have growing there, and a host of other automation options will allow you to tailor your irrigation routine to your specific needs. Keep in mind that this device (as well as its competitor) also respond to live feedback from multiple weather services. Once you set your zones up, you may be able to let your Rachio do its own thing.
RainMachine Touch HD-12
Just like with its competitor, this model can be controlled with a smartphone app and responds to live weather feedback via WiFi. But this unit also comes with onboard touchscreen controls. That means that you can walk right up to the device itself and program your irrigation schedule using a convenient user interface. One main advantage of the touchscreen is that you can still control the unit even if your WiFi goes down and your smartphone can’t connect.
Verdict: Onboard controls push the RainMachine ahead in this category. While both smartphone apps are well-designed and easy-to-use, they’ll be useless if your WiFi network goes down because they won’t be able to connect with the unit. That’s why the addition of onboard controls is a serious perk. Whatever is going on with your WiFi network, you’ll always be able to control your smart sprinkler system with its simple touchscreen interface.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler
You can control this Rachio smart sprinkler up to 8 zones with this smart sprinkler system. Gone are the days when you had to go out and manually set up the sprinklers, turning them on and off and moving them depending on how much water each section of your garden needed. Simply program this device with the specific needs of each zone in your garden and let it do its work. As mentioned above, live weather information will be incorporated into its decision making.
RainMachine Touch HD-12
If you have a large and complex garden, you’ll appreciate the four additional zones offered by this model. Some gardens are just too large or too diverse for eight zones, and other gardens might even benefit from a more targeted analysis that increases water efficiency. Additionally, if you plan on expanding your garden at all, you can rest easy knowing that your irrigation system can adapt to your new raised beds.
Verdict: It’s clear that more zones equal more flexibility in the long run, whatever your garden looks like at the moment. The only consideration that might influence your decision is whether you have enough land to ever warrant more than eight zones. If a tiny backyard garden is all that’s possible for you, you may not need the additional four zones. It’s important to plan ahead, though, and if there’s even potential for expansion, you’d do well to keep the extra capacity in your back pocket for a rainy (or not so rainy) day.
The choice to add a smart sprinkler controller to your irrigation system can save you time and money, and in a broader sense, the water conservation it facilitates can help to save our environment. There are many estimates as to how much these systems can save you, usually falling between 50% and 80%. That’s a lot of water!
Both of the models we examined today are well-designed and are sure to make your life a lot easier. In the end, though, the RainMachine Touch HD-12 has the best features. With twelve zones to its competitor’s eight, as well as onboard touchscreen controls to guard against WiFi emergencies, this model is your best bet.