There are dozens of sprinkler controllers on the market that promise the best features and capabilities. Sadly, the majority of those statements are false, and companies advertise poorly-built irrigation systems that are no good.
So we need to be careful that we don't end up with a nonfunctional sprinkler controller. Luckily, several notable brands manufacture genuinely reliable devices.
Rachio and Skydrop are two popular sprinkler controllers that offer great features and capabilities. These two irrigation system controllers are best-selling products with high ratings and thousands of satisfied customers.
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Rachio vs. Skydrop: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Rachio and Skydrop have impressive features, and people widely consider them two of the best on the market. In this Skydrop vs. Rachio article, we'll compare, review and evaluate the most critical aspects of our sprinkler controllers.
1. Installation Process
The first topic we need to write about is the installation processes of Rachio and Skydrop. A modern smart home product needs to be readily activatable. Otherwise, buyers will look for alternatives since no one buys products that require hours of reading, searching, and testing; smart home shoppers look for user-friendly products that must apply to the setup.
Setting up your Rachio sprinkler controller is pretty easy, and it takes just a few minutes to complete. I won't write a step-by-step guide since Rachio uploaded an excellent video that perfectly explains all the steps required to activate your irrigation system controller.
If you still have trouble understanding how to install your Rachio sprinkler controller, the product package includes a well-written user manual that'll guide you through the setup.
As a last resort, you can reach out to the Rachio support team. Those people are amazing and will help solve any queries.
Installing the Skydrop sprinkler controller is quick and easy. It's a DIY device that doesn't require professional assistance to activate.
As with Rachio, Skydrop uploaded a fantastic guide that perfectly explains how to activate the sprinkler controller. If you're interested in how to do it, make sure to watch the video posted below.
If you'd like further guidance, try referring to the user manual included in your sprinkler controller package. Alternatively, contact Skydrop's customer care, and they'll gladly help solve your issues.
A modern device needs to be both functional and well-designed. Today's smart home shoppers look for eye-catching products and will be an asset to their surroundings.
Rachio is a not-so-good-looking sprinkler controller with a simple design and doesn't magnetize the observer. The dimensions of the sprinkler controller are 5.5 x 1.5 x 9.25 inches, and it weighs around 3 pounds.
The cover of Rachio is weatherproof and can withstand harsh climatic conditions. There are a few buttons underneath the cover where you can manually select zones or select to start/stop watering.
Skydrop is a well-built and beautiful-looking sprinkler controller that is one of the most eye-catching devices on the market. Rachio's dimensions are 1.9 x 9.7 x 3.1 inches, and it weighs 1.9lbs. It has a 4.3-inch LCD and a 3-inch dial on the right.
I've seen the Skydrop mounted in a few different places, and it does look quite attractive. Compared to its competitors, Rachio and RainMachine, Skydrop is the best-looking irrigation controller on the market.
One of the main reasons why people purchase smart sprinkler controllers is for their features and capabilities. So it's essential to know the features of Rachio and Skydrop to be sure that we're buying capable and functional irrigation system controllers.
So both smart sprinkler controllers have nice sets of features and offer a lot of flexibility. Rachio and Skydrop offer quite similar things, but there are a few differences in the features and performance capabilities.
What I like about both is the voice-control feature that makes the whole automation process a lot easier. Instead of using the mobile application, you can tell your voice assistant to start or stop the watering process.
Next for discussion is the performance capabilities of our irrigation system controllers. This topic is the most critical aspect of our comparison article since the main reason people purchase these devices is their capabilities.
If Rachio and Skydrop can't meet a prospective purchaser's minimum requirements, there will be no incentive to invest in the product.
We tested Rachio and experimented with all the features of the sprinkler controller. Rachio's scheduling feature worked flawlessly, and it never made a mistake.
The weather forecast of Rachio works very well and perfectly blends with the scheduling feature. For instance, if Rachio schedules a watering on Wednesday and the weather forecast predicts a heavy rain on Thursday, Rachio will override its original schedule.
Next, we paired the smart irrigation system controller with Amazon Alexa. As expected, the process was smooth, and we had zero trouble connecting these two devices. Another perk of Rachio is that it also works with Google Assistant.
If you own any of these voice controllers, you can give voice-enabled commands without pulling out your phone and launching the mobile application.
Rachio is quite smart, and it can quickly determine when, where and how much watering is needed. Besides the Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, Rachio supports other notable brands like Nest, IFTTT, Wink, and SmartThings.
Unlike other sprinkler controllers that check the weather forecast once a day, Rachio gathers the data every hour. As soon as it's finished, Rachio uses the information to water your garden more efficiently and effectively.
Don't be scared of mounting your sprinkler controller outside. Rachio's design has a specially designed enclosure that protects the smart irrigation system controller from harsh weather environments.
Lastly, the Rachio sprinkler controller ideally syncs the schedule and weather forecast data to create a watering plan that best fits your garden and requirements.
You can control your Skydrop sprinkler controller using the LCD screen, but it's more convenient to use the web app or the mobile application.
As soon as you activate the Skydrop irrigation system controller, it asks a few questions regarding your lawn and its location; the responses enable Skydrop to create a good watering plan and track the local weather more effectively.
Skydrop follows the pre-planned schedule perfectly, and it never forgets to water. It's hard to estimate how much water the sprinkler controller will save since I've been using it for around a week. But judging from its performance, it'll do better than my previous irrigation system controller, which watered the lawn every single day.
The integration with Amazon Alexa was a bit faulty, and it didn't go as smoothly as Rachio. While we tried giving commands, Skydrop had trouble obeying them.
The IFTTT alerts don't work as they should, and, for some reason, we had trouble with the email alerts since we weren't getting them for about a month.
The LCD seems like a cheaply made screen that doesn't correspond to the price of the sprinkler controller.
The weather forecast is always on point on the bright side, and you can check it via the mobile app. It has zero trouble following the smart schedule and displays the watering history, which is quite convenient.
If you plan on placing the sprinkler controller outdoors, you can simply purchase the Skydrop outdoor enclosure as an add-on to ensure your controller is protected.
5. Mobile Application
Smart sprinkler controllers need to have functional mobile applications since we use those apps to control, monitor and check the recent activities of our irrigation system controllers.
If Rachio and Skydrop's mobile applications weren't up to the mark, the user experience would be compromised, and buyers would start looking for alternatives.
Rachio has a beautiful mobile application that works flawlessly and never glitches, freezes, or crashes. It's a well-built, intuitive, and functional application that is comfortable and reliable.
The mobile application offers a lot of flexibility and many features. In the process of setting schedules and customizing your Rachio, it's better to leave it alone and let the sprinkler controller automate the whole process since it's the best way to save maximum amounts of water.
We activated Smart Cycles and Weather Intelligence to see the full potential of the irrigation system controller. While doing so, Rachio offered a plan of its own which seemed to be a bit off. We were skeptical, but after two weeks of testing, the grass looked healthy and green.
If you're interested in how the app looks on the inside, take a look at the pictures posted above. The interface of Rachio's mobile application is intuitive and easy to navigate. There's no chance of getting lost, and the app offers fast access features.
The homepage displays the local weather and shows the forecast along with watering schedules. If you take a look at the picture of the yard, there's information given about the last watering cycle and when the next one begins.
What I love about the mobile application of Rachio – and the main reason I consider it a top-notch app – is the cool thing it does before starting the watering cycle.
Rachio will send a notification to alert you that it'll start a water cycle in a few minutes. This way, you won't be showering your guests, and that's a huge plus. I've had such ‘guest showering scenarios' with other sprinkler controllers; it goes without saying that it's good to have an alert that helps forestall such situations.
The homepage of Skydrop's mobile application is detailed and provides a lot of insights. It displays all the main features, and there's no need to surf through sections to find what you're looking for.
Despite the app being informative and well-structured, Skydrop's app is a bit buggy and freezes quite often.
We've noticed that whenever the sprinkler controller starts a watering cycle, the stats become irrelevant, and it takes time for it to get back on form.
We've also had trouble with push notifications, and, for some unknown reason, this feature didn't work as promised.
The most significant drawback of Skydrop's mobile application is the inability to pause or resume the watering process.
Another disadvantage is the fact that you can't water a specific zone. For example, if you want to activate Zone 4, you can't do it unless Skydrop starts watering from Zone 1, and it won't stop until the end.
The water-saving section also glitches and doesn't operate as it should. It regularly shows different amounts of gallons, so it can't be relied on.
The advantage of Skydrop's application is that it flawlessly follows schedules, and we've never had a case of something going wrong.
Lastly, you can view the latest activity in the zones section, and Skydrop also displays when the next watering cycle starts.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages
It's essential to know the pros and cons of these sprinkler controllers to avoid any misunderstandings before purchasing either of them.
Hence we've created two on-point charts that perfectly illustrate all the advantages and disadvantages of Skydrop and Rachio irrigation system controllers.
|Zones||Limited Onboard Controls|
|Amazon Alexa & Google Home||Can’t Run Multiple Zones at Once|
|Flexible Mobile Application|
|Reduced Water Bill|
|Easy to Install||Purchase Rachio|
|Beautiful Design||Buggy Push Notifications|
|LCD Screen||No Pause/Resume Button|
|Mobile Application & Web App||Inability to Water Specific Zones|
|Amazon Alexa Support|
|Easy to Install||Purchase Skydrop|
Rachio and Skydrop have some excellent and unique features, and these sprinkler controllers offer a lot of flexibility. Compared to their competitors, Rachio and Skydorp surely take the top spots on the market.
Smart home devices must have responsive, professional, and friendly customer care areas since buyers often get lost during specific processes, and after failing to find answers on their own, as a last resort, they reach out to the support teams.
Luckily, Skydrop and Rachio are well-known for having superb customer care areas. I've reached out to both and always received professional answers and tips.
Rachio Review: Key Takeaway
Before we move forward, we'd like to present the key takeaways for both smart irrigation system controllers so that you'll know the primary and vital features of both Rachio and Skydrop.
- Integrations – Rachio is a third-party, integration-friendly sprinkler controller that works with the most popular smart home devices. The list includes the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest, and Wink. So Rachio offers a lot of diversity, and it can be paired with lots of smart devices to make the whole automation process a lot more comfortable.
- Weather Forecast – Besides the option to manually set schedules, Rachio offers weather forecasts and combines the data with its schedules to create a complete watering plan.
- Zones – You can activate specific zones that, in your opinion, require more watering. Besides doing it manually, you can let the sprinkler controller automate the whole thing.
- Mobile Application – Rachio's mobile application has the rare advantage that it doesn't glitch or freeze. It's easy to use and offers fast access features.
Shortly, Rachio is one of the best sprinkler controllers on the market and offers exciting features, diversity, flexibility, and high reliability. Rachio has thousands of satisfied customers.
Skydrop Review: Key Takeaway
Skydrop is a promising sprinkler controller with outstanding features and outranks most irrigation system controllers on the market.
- Alexa Integration – Skydrop integrates with Amazon Alexa, and you can give voice-enabled commands. The integration is a bit faulty, but we're hopeful that Rachio will solve it in the coming updates.
- LCD Screen – Besides using the mobile application or the web app, you can control your Skydrop with a controller wheel. That's pretty convenient since not everyone is fond of using mobile apps as primary controllers.
- Integrations – Skydrop isn't quite a third-party integration-friendly smart irrigation system controller. For now, it only supports Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Nest.
- Mobile Application – The mobile application of Skydrop is quite nice. It's well-structured and offers a lot of flexibility and insights. Still, it's a bit buggy and freezes quite frequently.
Frankly, Skydrop is a capable sprinkler controller that works at an acceptable level. Skydrop has one of the highest ratings and thousands of satisfied customers. It's still regarded as one of the best buys and as a promising smart irrigation system controller.
Before concluding our article, we'd like to present a detailed chart to compare Skydrop and Rachio directly.
So, Skytop and Rachio are reliable smart irrigation system controllers that deliver amazing results. Undoubtedly, these two are top-notch devices that lead the market with their innovative and unique features. Rachio and Skydrop will surely meet or exceed your expectations.
The Bottom Line
These two devices offer exciting features. Rachio and Skydrop have thousands of positive reviews and countless satisfied customers.
If we compare these two to find out which one takes the top spot, Rachio undoubtedly is the superior irrigation system controller that is the complete product on the market.
Rachio offers everything you can think of for a smart sprinkler controller ‘wish list,' and it's still improving. The Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, SmartThings, and Wink integrations make the Rachio an out-of-the-box sprinkler controller that exceeds every other device on the market.
For sure, Skydrop is also a wonderful sprinkler controller that works at an acceptable level and can complete the most basic tasks. If that's enough for you, and you don't like what the Rachio sprinkler controller has to offer, Skydrop might satisfy your needs.
If you want to own the best product on the market that offers maximum comfort, flexibility, and trustworthiness, Rachio is the way to go. Today, no other irrigation system controller can keep up with everything Rachio has to offer.
No doubt, it's the complete sprinkler controller, and there's no sign of competitors creating anything similar or superior.