Smart sprinkler controllers are a popular thing now and a lot of people are considering getting one to save money and water. There are dozens of sprinkler controllers on the market and all of them promise outstanding features and capabilities.
Surely, not all of those statements can be trusted since the majority of manufacturers advertise poorly-built and nonfunctional devices.
Luckily, Rachio and RainMachine are two top-notch sprinkler controllers that are widely regarded as the best products on the market. They’re easy to use, simple to navigate and functional controllers.
Table of Contets
- 1 Rachio vs RainMachine: Pros & Cons and Verdict
- 1.1 1. Installation Process
- 1.2 2. Design
- 1.3 3. Features
- 1.4 4. Performance
- 1.5 5. Mobile Application
- 1.6 6. Advantages and Disadvantages
- 1.7 7. Support
- 1.8 Rachio Review: Key Takeaway
- 1.9 RainMachine Review: Key Takeaway
- 1.10 8. Comparison Chart: Rachio vs RainMachine
- 1.11 The Bottom Line
Rachio vs RainMachine: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this article, we’ll review, compare and evaluate the most important aspects of both sprinkler controllers. We’ll also present detailed charts and lastly, we’ll come up with a reasonable verdict and crown either of these two as the leading product.
1. Installation Process
Today, people don’t buy things that are hard to install. Everyone searches for DIY devices that are easy to activate. We need to be sure that Rachio and RainMachine have simple installation processes that don’t require professional assistance.
Setting up Rachio sprinkler controller is pretty easy. It takes a few minutes to complete the installation and setup process. Rachio’s package includes a well-written user’s manual that perfectly explains how to activate your sprinkler controller.
We’ve also linked a wonderful video guide uploaded by Rachio that’ll explain the whole process.
If you still have questions about the installation, make sure to check the user’s manual for further guidance. Alternatively, reach out to Rachio’s support and they’ll help with anything you think is relevant.
RainMachine is another DIY smart sprinkler controller that is so easy to activate that there’s no chance of getting lost. I’ve personally installed the RainMachine and it only took around 5-8 minutes to have it up and running.
If you’re interested in the setup process, we’ve dropped a detailed video guide published by RainMachine. It perfectly explains all the steps required to complete the procedure.
If there are unanswered questions left, RainMachine’s package includes a user’s manual that can be used for additional guidance. Lastly, if the problem persists, reach out to RainMachine’s support. Those people are superb and will help with any problem you might be facing.
It’s important for modern smart home products to be both functional and visually appealing. Every smart home shopper looks for devices that improve the overall appearance of their houses. So it’s essential for RainMachine and Rachio to have eye-catching and attractive designs.
Visually, Rachio is not so attractive. It doesn’t look special and it surely doesn’t raise questions or curiosity. Rachio is only available in white color and the dimensions of the sprinkler controller are 5.5 x 1.5 x 9.25 inches and it weighs around 3 pounds.
Underneath the white cover, there are a few buttons that allow you to manually select zones and start or stop the watering. The simple, white design makes the sprinkler controller easy to use and unconfusing.
RainMachine is the most attractive and beautiful sprinkler controller on the market. It’s well-built, beautifully designed and eye-catching. The dimensions of RainMachine sprinkler controller is 5.9 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches and weighs 11 ounces.
The touch interface of RainMachine sprinkler controller works smoothly. Compared to its competitors, this irrigation system controller has the best design. I also spoke with other RainMachine owners and everyone seems to be in love with its looks.
One of the main reasons why people purchase smart sprinkler controllers is their features and performance capabilities. We need to know the main features of Rachio and RainMachine to know exactly what these two are capable of.
If RainMachine and Rachio can’t meet our needs, there’s no need for us to invest in such devices. In order to find it out, we’ve created a detailed chart that lists the features of Rachio and RainMachine.
So both sprinkler controllers have pretty interesting features and it’s not surprising that people regard these two as the industry leading products. One of the biggest advantages of RainMachine and Rachio is having the voice control. Controlling them via Amazon Alexa or Google Home (only Rachio supports it) makes the whole automation process a lot easier.
What we need to write about now is the performance capabilities of our sprinkler controllers. It’s essential to know how well these two perform and if they can actually save us money and water.
With dozens of tests conducted, Rachio worked quite well. The scheduling feature rarely glitched and mostly delivered satisfying results. The weather forecast was perfect too. If, for example, the scheduled watering was on Wednesday and on the next day, the weather forecast predicted a heavy rain, Rachio will override the scheduled watering.
Integration of Rachio and Amazon Alexa was pretty smooth and we had zero trouble with the pairing process. Another cool thing that makes Rachio attractive is the Google Home support.
So if you own either of these two, there’s no need for you to pull out your phone and launch the apps to give commands. You can simply tell your voice assistant what the sprinkler controller should do.
The sprinkler controller is smart enough to determine when, where and for how long the watering should take. It’s a third-party integration friendly device and besides Alexa and Google Home, it happily integrates with other popular brands like IFTTT, SmartThings, Nest and Wink.
What we loved about Rachio is that it checked the weather forecast every once in an hour. It uses that data to determine whether your garden requires watering. This way, it saves a lot of water and money on monthly bills.
Don’t be scared of mounting your Rachio outdoors. It’s wrapped in a weatherproof cover and can easily withstand harsh environments.
The biggest advantage of Rachio is that it combines the knowledge it has about your yard with weather forecasts and creates a specialized plan that better fits your needs.
Rainmachine is another functional irrigation system controller that works perfectly and is highly rated on the market. RainMachine is a best-selling sprinkler controller and has thousands of satisfied customers.
Like Rachio, it gathers information from various weather forecast companies and analyzes the data, carefully.
The scheduling feature of RainMachine works flawlessly. You can do it from the touchscreen and it’s really easy to navigate. RainMachine offers kits for 8, 12, or 16 zones and that’s quite good.
RainMachine is integrable with weather stations and it delivers accurate weather reports. The company claims to provide around 80% on savings.
Besides Amazon Echo integration, RainMachine can be paired with IFTTT, SmartThings and Netatmo. The biggest advantage of RainMachine, as people say, is the local access since some don’t like using mobile apps to give commands and monitor activities.
RainMachine is completely independent of the cloud. In other words, even if your Wi-Fi is down, it won’t interfere with the sprinkler controller. It’s also EPA WaterSense certified and schedules can be set manually or you can allow the sprinkler controller to do it for you.
As for the energy savings, RainMachine does a wonderful job. We’ve estimated that in the first month of installing the sprinkler controller, we saved around 60% on water.
Shortly, if you’re looking for a complete on-device controls, or your connection is unreliable, RainMachine will be a better fit for you. Don’t think that RainMachine can only be controlled with a touchscreen. They offer apps for Android, iOS and a web app. So you can use the one you like the most.
The biggest drawback of RainMachine is that it should be installed somewhere indoors (garage will do fine) since it’s not a weatherproof sprinkler.
RainMachine is not good at setting schedules and sometimes, it has trouble changing them. RainMachine requires you to create schedules since it can’t do it on its own. You need to tell the sprinkler controller which days to water and set the length of the processes.
Luckily, there’s a feature called ‘weather adaptive watering’ and if activated, RainMachine will start acting upon weather forecasts. For example, if a heavy rain is predicted tomorrow, it’ll override your original scheduling cycle and act as it sees fit.
5. Mobile Application
What we need to write about now is the mobile applications of Rachio and RainMachine. If these two have bad mobile apps, the user experience will be low and people will look for alternative sprinkler controllers.
Since we mostly use our apps to control, monitor and schedule our irrigation system controllers, it’s essential for both devices to have functional iOS and Android apps.
Rachio’s mobile application works quite well and it’s free of bugs. We’ve never encountered the mobile application glitching, crashing or freezing. It’s well-structured, easy to navigate and intuitive.
The mobile application of Rachio offers some great features and flexibility. While setting schedules and customizing your sprinkler controller, it’s better to allow the device to automate everything without you interfering since it’s the best option to save maximum amounts of water.
We’ve activated all of the smart features (Smart Cycle and Weather Intelligence) and Rachio offered a plan of its own which seemed to be a bit off. After a week of testing, the grass looked quite healthy and green.
The interface of the mobile application is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive ones we’ve tested. The homepage of the app shows all sorts of things including local weather, forecast (five-day), watering schedules, and zones.
As you see from the picture of the zones, it shows the last time it was watered and when the next cycle will begin. Notifications are sent timely and the best thing about the mobile application is that it sends an alert whenever it’s about to start watering.
That’s a wonderful feature since you won’t be showering your visitors unexpectedly. If you think that you no longer need a scheduled run, there’s a special button for this and it can be canceled (there’s also a resume button) whenever you see fit.
The integrations of Rachio are wonderful. It connects with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, SmartThings and Wink. All of those connections are native and smooth.
RainMachine’s mobile application is superb. It’s clean, functional, easy to use and well-built. We’ve never the app bugging, crashing, freezing or glitching. It’s well-structured and intuitive so you’ll have zero trouble finding what you came looking for.
The interface of the mobile application is simple and shows some interesting insights. It displays the local weather, forecast, rain amount, next watering cycle, temperature, devices and zones.
There’s also a section for the zones where you can check the configuration. What people love about the app is the ‘restriction’ feature that works smoothly. For instance, if you live at a place where the weather is easily predictable, you set a thing like, ‘don’t water in February’ or ‘don’t water on Wednesday’.
The application itself isn’t as good as Rachio’s. It doesn’t offer much guidance and you’ll need the user’s manual to find all the hidden gems.
RainMachine can be integrated with popular smart home products like Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and SmartThings. We’ve paired the sprinkler controller with Alexa and it was a smooth integration. Whenever they’re synced, you can give voice-enabled commands and enable watering cycles without launching the app.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages
Besides everything we’ve discussed, it’s important to know the pros and cons of these sprinkler controllers to avoid any misunderstandings after purchasing either of these two.
In order to find out the advantages and disadvantages of Rachio and RainMachine, we’ve created two detailed charts that list all the pros and cons of both.
|Zones||Faulty Amazon Alexa Integration|
|Amazon Alexa & Google Home||Can’t Run Multiple Zones at Once|
|Flexible Mobile Application||Limited Onboard Controls|
|Reduced Water Bill|
|Easy to Install|
|Beautiful Hardware||Can’t Expand to More Zones|
|Touchscreen||Average Scheduling Capabilities|
|Good Mobile Application||Less Flexible|
|Rain and Wind Sensitivity|
|Amazon Alexa Integration|
So both sprinkler controllers have good features and a few cons. Rachio and RainMachine are both functional products with thousands of satisfied customers and high ratings. With the incredible features these two have, there’s no doubt people consider them as the best irrigation system controllers on the market.
Rachio and RainMachine are well-known for having top-notch customer care areas. When people purchase new smart gadgets, they often get lost during certain processes and can’t complete them without professional assistance.
After failing to find answers on their own, the last resort is reaching out to support team for additional help. So it’s important for companies like this to have outstanding customer care areas to satisfy user interest.
Luckily, Rachio and RainMachine have pretty good customer services. I’ve reached out a few times and always received professional answers and tips.
Rachio Review: Key Takeaway
Before concluding our article, we’d like to mention all the key features of Rachio so that you understand why exactly it’s one of the best sprinkler controllers on the market.
- Integrations – Rachio can be integrated with popular devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. If you connect Rachio with either of these two, you can give voice-enabled commands that make the whole process a lot more comfortable.
- Weather Forecast – The mobile application shows a weather forecast and your sprinkler controller will gather the data to better save money on bills.
- Zones – You can configure zones and activate the ones you think require more attention. You can also automate this process and let the irrigation system controller handle all the planning.
- Mobile Application – Rachio’s mobile application is wonderful. It’s easy to use, intuitive and well-structured. It never glitches, freezes or crashes.
That’s pretty much everything. Rachio is one of the best sprinkler controllers on the market with a nice set of features and capabilities. It has thousands of satisfied customers and can definitely meet, or exceed, your expectations.
RainMachine Review: Key Takeaway
RainMachine is a popular sprinkler controller that has high ratings and lots of positive reviews. It’s a best-selling product with a lot of potential. RainMachine is widely regarded as one of the best irrigation system controllers and boasts having one of the best features and capabilities.
- Local Control – The main advantage of the sprinkler controller is that it doesn’t rely on cloud service to keep your system running. Even if your Wi-Fi is down, it won’t interfere with RainMachine’s functionality.
- Touchscreen – Besides using the mobile and web app to control your irrigation system controller, you can use the touchscreen to give commands. That’s a huge plus since not everyone is keen on using apps for monitoring and controlling their smart devices.
- Integrations – RainMachine can be integrated with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and SmartThings. The pairing process is simple and can be completed without any complications. Alexa gives the ability to give voice-enabled commands. On the other hand, IFTTT and SmartThings allow creating interesting scenes.
- Mobile Application – The mobile app is well-built but it’s not as functional as Rachio’s. Still, RainMachine’s mobile application is intuitive and easy to use. It never crashes, freezes or glitches.
So RainMachine is a superb sprinkler controller that takes the top spot on the market. It’s reliable, functional, beautiful and durable. RainMachine has interesting features and a lot of room for improvement.
Compared to its competitors, RainMachine offers more features, flexibility, and stability. It’s definitely one of the best products in its niche.
Before moving to the last part of our article, we’d like to present a detailed chart where we directly compare these two irrigation system controllers.
So both are reliable sprinkler controllers that deliver amazing results. Surely, Rachio and RainMachine can satisfy and even exceed your needs. These two are well-known on the market, have high ratings and best-seller statuses on Amazon.
The Bottom Line
While both sprinkler controllers are top-notch devices, we still need to choose a winner so that it’s easier for the buyer to decide which one is a better buy.
Rachio is widely regarded as the best irrigation system controller with outstanding features and capabilities. If you’re looking for a sprinkler controller that integrates with Alexa and Google Home to give voice-enabled commands, Rachio seems to be a better option since the pairing process is smoother. Rachio also offers more flexibility and the mobile application is more advanced.
RainMachine is a sprinkler controller for those who love using a touchscreen and has a faulty internet connection. If you regularly have issues with connectivity, you’ll have a horrible time with Rachio. Since RainMachine doesn’t rely on cloud services, it’ll be a wonderful addition that’ll work perfectly even if the Wi-Fi signal is down.
So both of these two offer significant value and the choice must be made depending on your needs. If you want to own a sprinkler controller that is integration friendly and offers more flexibility, Rachio is the way to go. On the other hand, if you love touchscreens and the concept of local control, RainMachine will do just fine.
Lastly, Rachio is a superior irrigation system controller since it offers more features, freedom and flexibility. It’s third-party integration friendly and has a lot of potential to improve. If you want to own the best sprinkler controller on the market, Rachio is the way to go.