Or it can let you run the show while automatically adjusting to save you water if rain, freezing temperatures, or heavy wind is in the forecast. You also need to use one of the zone terminals for a master valve or pump, so if you have either of these, you get one less zone. If you live in an area that has high water prices and/or water shortages—40 out of 50 states have at least one region that’s expected to face a water shortage in the next decade—a smart sprinkler controller could be a valuable addition to your home and community. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. Rachio has a habit of rolling out new hardware with features not available to the previous generation. Call today: 818-994-1159! Still, the RainMachine is an excellent device. It has no on-device controls. The downside is that your sprinklers might still run in the rain if the RainMachine thinks they need to. “If you compare this technology to a homeowner who sets their controller one time and doesn’t touch it the rest of the year then we see where these controllers do make adjustments,” said Swanson. The schedule calendar is confusing, providing only a rain cloud to indicate that the device is not going to water, as opposed to the detailed forecasts that the Rachio 3 and others offer. We also found the RainMachine app confusing. See it. Once everything is set up, the main screen gives you very clear notice of what state your system is in, which is something we really liked. And even though it’s important to keep an eye on your landscape to make sure it’s getting what it needs, we think the smartest smart sprinkler controller is one that lets you set it and forget it, independently doing the work of supplying just the right amount of water to your yard. It optimizes your in-ground irrigation system by auto-adjusting to weather and soil conditions, making it easier to maintain a healthy landscape while cutting water use. The Pro model has a separate master valve terminal, so it is a better fit if you need 16 zones. RainMachine API can be accessed by third parties if the owner/user of RainMachine gives permission (for example IFTTT, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit). The Google Nest Protect is easy to silence and has other handy features. It adjusts to real-time weather conditions and integrates with many smart devices, yet it remains simple to use. The RainMachine Touch HD-12 (available in versions for 12 or 16 zones) can be controlled by an onboard touchscreen, a smartphone app, or a web interface. If your town or city has a program like this, it could be an option over a smart controller—assuming that the only reason you want a smart controller is for water savings, not for the added convenience and smart-home integrations these devices also offer. On days when the Rachio 3 scheduled a watering, the system ran anywhere from 43 minutes to nearly four hours in the early morning hours, stopping as requested before sunrise. Their study is still ongoing, and they don’t single out a specific controller yet, although their testing does indicate that some are better for certain landscapes than others. Get the most out of your Google Assistant speaker with these smart-home devices designed to work with it. 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