As Needed': Why is it replacing 'Flex', which is far smarter..?

I’ve been using my Rachio last season using Flex intelligent scheduling.

This season, I switch on my Rachio to find Flex is being dropped in favour of As Needed.
I cannot see why.

All the data I had to put in last year, soil type / depth / sprinkler output / lawn area / etc., was combined with local weather (both current and forecast) to intelligently generate my watering schedule (days) and amount (run time).
This was modified on a daily basis, ensuring the lawn had the most efficient watering whilst being economical with my water resources. Any fine-tuning could be done via the handy adjustment page (‘Less’ / ‘More’ / ‘Alot more’).

Excellent. Rachio was indeed smart and significantly better than any other controller.

Now, it is being replaced by As Needed, apparently because Flex was too difficult for some users (!).
As Needed, apparently, creates its schedules based on historical data, and generates them on a monthly basis, not being able to alter that month once it has started it. Any fine-tuning has to be done by altering one of the vegetation’s advanced characteristics, thus deviating from its correct value, and the effect not being obviously labeled.
I tried to create an As Needed schedule, and I found on the last page it asked ME what the watering times should be…?!?

So, as far as I can see, an As Needed schedule does NOT reference current or forecast weather data, and does NOT use all that data I input at great length to calculate the correct watering amount, based on complex intelligent algorithms perfected by Racio’s extensive research. It is also far harder to fine-tune, you having to alter & lose the vegetation’s actual characteristic value in so doing.

What on earth?!?

I could get the same results as an As Needed schedule by buying a $50 dumb controller and setting it to the same settings as my mother-in-law, who has been using a lawn irrigation system for years (historical data).

This defeats the whole ‘Rachio intelligence’, the very reason the controller was recommended to me by a local environmental agency, and why I bought the controller.

Why REPLACE a very effective system with a less intelligent one?
(Why not just AUGMENT it with the simpler one?)
Why take away the Rachio’s ability to adapt to changing weather on a daily basis? How is monthly better?
Why ask ME what the watering times should be?!? YOU’RE the experts! That’s YOUR job!?!
Why reference only historical weather data when creating the monthly schedule?
How is ‘this month 10 years ago’ more accurate than ‘today’s actual weather / tomorrow’s forecast’…?
Why take away easy fine-tune adjustment, replacing it with far harder to access / understand parameters?

I very nearly spent C$300 on a Netatmo personal weather station, to ensure my Rachio was getting the most accurate rainfall data. Just as well I didn’t, judging by this scheduling car-crash that is As Needed.

In a feedback message I recently sent to Rachio, I finished with the following quote:

“It’s like I’ve come to my garden shed at the beginning of the season, only to find that a tool I’ve become accustomed to and am very happy with has been taken away and replaced with another one which doesn’t suit me atall and which I have no intention of ever using.
If this were an actual spade in my actual shed, this would amount to theft.
I am struggling to view THIS situation in any other light.”.

Why destroy something so smart, with so much potential yet to be realised?
Why alienate your Rachio community in this way?
Why force people into using something they don’t want by process of eliminating the other option?
Isn’t that a form of dictatorship…?

Any thoughts or insights would be greatly appreciated.
Clearly not very impressed,

  • D

We hear and appreciate your concern and feedback. Please know that we are working on a solution.

Also, please continue to use the existing flex technlogy if it was working well for you.


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I for one would be willing to pay a premium for Flex. Undoubtedly it requires much more overhead than As Needed or a fixed schedule. When investigating controllers I noticed a competitor offered an expanded service for a small monthly subscription.

I for one would NOT be interested in paying a monthly fee for Flex (just say’n).



I agree. The entire point of an internet & cloud based sprinkler controller should be flex style software solutions and it’s why I bought this unit in the first place. If I have to pay a monthly fee on top of the $249 I paid for my Gen 2 I might as well as have left my Rainbird ESP on the wall which while complicated to work with did Rachio Flex style scheduling minus the predictive forecast weather element.

I am LOVING my Rachio Iro with flex and I love the tone of support here on the forums from Rachio employees and leadership. I will gladly evangelize this to the heavens once Rachio reconfirms that Flex style scheduling will forever remain part of the product platform going forward.

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I installed Rachio precisely because of the constant monitoring of local weather. In Southern Oregon we’ve had bad drought for years and I’ve spent a lot of time adjusting water schedules. This is critical since most of my watering systems are on domestic wells.
I am an irrigation contractor and was planning on installing Rachio on the 22 jobs we have scheduled for this season. If it looks like we’ll lose the local weather monitoring I’ll go on installing Hunter controllers.
I’ve been dreaming about something like Rachio for the 40 years I’ve been in contracting. Now it looks as though they’re pulling the main reason for using it. It’s like having your new car totalled, eh?
Hope I’m totally wrong about losing the only features that made it the best choice.


Please don’t worry about this feature, we are working on a solution for everyone.

Thanks for your patience.