Our homes and phones are becoming smarter all the time, so why shouldn’t our irrigation systems become smarter as well? With a smart WiFi controller, not only can you control your system with your smartphone, some controllers even have the ability to save you a substantial amount of water and detect leaks. The following are comparisons of the three top Smart Controllers for Irrigation Systems on the market: Hunter’s Hydrawise Controller, Rainbird, and Rachio. Here are 6 points to consider:
How easy is it to set up my new WiFi Controller?
Hydrawise: Setting up the Hydrawise is similar to setting up a smartphone. The WiFi is built in and if you are setting it up in an area where WiFi is not yet installed, the touch screen menu will walk you through the set up. Once the controller is connected to WiFi, it will sync to your smartphone and you can change its setting from anywhere.
Rachio: The easiest way to set up this controller is through existing WiFi using your smartphone. It can be set up using just the controller but the Rachio does not have a touchscreen, it only has blinking lights to tell you what is going on.
RainBird: Reviews say the set up of the program on your phone and the controller itself is pretty user friendly. It must be set up using your smartphone onsite and unfortunately, you must purchase an additional module for WiFi capabilities.
Will My New Smart WiFi Controller be Compatible with my I Phone or Android?
Hydrawise: This controller can be accessed on Android, IPhone, computer, and tablet. If you have internet connection, you will have access to your dashboard to track what is going on and generate reports.
Rachio: This controller can be accessed anywhere through your IPhone, Android, or through the Rachio portal on the website.
RainBird: The Rainbird can only be accessed from the app on your smartphone. If something happens to your phone or the app, this controller does not sync with a website which means all of your data will be lost.
How Does My Smart WiFi Controller Adjust for the Weather at My House?
Hydrawise: Hunter uses current weather forecasts as well as data from past forecasts from Weather Underground from the Global Weather Monitoring Service. This is the same service weather stations use. You can also add multiple local weather stations to your controller to provide the most accurate weather reading.
Rachio: This controller also uses the Weather Underground from the Global Weather Monitoring Service but it only allows access to basic weather station and you don’t have the ability to add your own.
RainBird: Instead of connecting to underground, the RainBird system uses a zip code average for its weather forecast. It can’t tell what the exact forecast is for your exact location.
What Kinds of Logs and Reports will my Smart WiFi Controller Generate?
Hydrawise: The Hydrawise automatically provides you with 3 different kinds of reports. One to show you your minute-by-minute water savings, the second to show you your controllers schedule, and the third to show any changes that have been made and why they have been made.
Rachio: This controller will also generate monthly reports on how much water your smart controller save you throughout the month. Unfortunately, it does not log changes that were made to the system.
RainBird: No reports or logs are generated with the Rainbird Smart Controller.
Can I place my Smart WiFi Controller Outside?
Hydrawise: Hunter has both indoor and outdoor models of the Hydrawise. The outdoor model comes in a strong, durable enclosed box that protects the hardware from outdoor elements. It also has additional features such as a standard door locks and 2 sensor ports.
Rachio: The Rachio only offers an indoor model that is not built to withstand the elements.
RainBird: Comes in a standard professional controller box, no additional features.
What else do Smart WiFi Controllers Do?
Hydrawise has built in multi-meter sensing, it can connect to the weather stations, a rain sensor, and an additional flow sensor check for leaks, blockages, and to ensure the valves are working correctly.
The Rachio connects to the weather systems and they just released the Rachio 3 which comes with a flow sensor option similar to the Hydrawise.
RainBird averages zip codes to determine the weather in your area, but it can also have a rain sensor added onto the system.
As you can see, these three controllers have a lot of similarities, but also some pretty big differences in important areas. Heritage Lawns & Irrigation can work on any of these controllers as well as many others. The Heritage Smart Sprinkler Management Program is built around the Hunter’s Hydrawise Controller and for larger properties we use the BaseLine Controller systems. Giving us the flexibility to service all properties from small lots to large multi acre HOA’s and business parks. If you have more questions about Smart Sprinkler Controllers or Water Management Programs contact us today, Heritage Lawns & Irrigation (913) 451-4664 or email us at info@HeritageLawnsKC.com.
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Author: Wes Ory