Gen 3 controller--4/8/16-zone on but 12-zone elsehwere?

The 12-zone is available at Costco, Walmart, and elsewhere, but not on Why and what’s the difference? Also, the 12-zone regular price is $199, but the 8-zone at Rachio is also $199. Why is this?


Don’t quote me on this, but I believe the 12 zone was an older model, no longer made. The 12 was always a big box retail model (mainly Costco originally) that wasn’t even available on Rachio website, and the 8 and 16 zone were Rachio direct, irrigation distributor, smaller retailer, or Amazon. And rather recently, they added the 4 zone.

I tried doing a quick search on here, but I vaguely remember something similar to the above.

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Costco still sells them, neighbor recently bought one. It looks identical to the 8 and 16 zone models.


I found this thread on Woot where someone thought that the 12-zone is an older model:

When I contacted Rachio via chat, I was told that the 12-zone is an older model, but chat later reversed that information. When I called Rachio, I was told that it’s exactly the same with older manufacturing dates. This means that the 12-zone might have older logic boards, which makes me wonder if there are improvements on the 4, 6, 16 even though they tell me it’s exactly the same thing.

I then asked if the 12-zone is still being manufactured, I was told yes. There is inconsistent information to be sure. The 12-zone is on sale at Woot right now, which suggests that this is a product that is being phased out, I would think.

I don’t doubt that Rachio had a lot of 12 zone big box version inventory on hand. Assuming that it is in fact no longer being produced (maybe @franz can confirm), then that inventory would deplete at some point…

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Just installed a 12 zone purchased at Costco.They had plenty.

When you take off the front magnetic cover do you see a sticker with this “12ZULW-C” or any other anything with a “-B” on the main unit?

OK I called rachio support and asked them if Costco 12 zone controller is a 3rd generation unit with the latest software, firmware and etc. They said yes. I asked them if they new why my purchase from Costco was being shipped from Canada since rachio is in the USA. The reply was they thought it was shipping from a Costco warehouse in Canada but I would need to check this with Costco. I then asked them for the Model Number of the 12 zone controller and was given this: 12ZULW-B and they said the “B” did not designate the generation of it. I pointed out that all units on rachio have a model number ending in -C. He assured me again that the Costco unit was the latest…

The -B and -C typically designate hardware revisions. They can be the same model and accept the same firmware, but manufactures often make changes to the hardware (minor design, manufacturing, chip use, etc.) over the life of a product. Sometimes they make hardware changes to address a bug or reliability issues.

Some firmware update payloads are designed to recognize the hardware revision and load the proper code for the hardware.

I have also seen the -B -C type to indicate the manufacturing plant from which they came. All things being equal, I generally look for the latest revision, assuming that the manufacturer made changes for a good reason.

THX… yes I agree with your info… I just got off the phone with Costco and then rachio again. This time rachio said they do ship to Canada but they do not ship from Canada. My order, yet to be rceived, shipped yesterday. Shipping says Ontario, Ca. I guess that could also be California or Canada?? Will know when I get it…

The guy at rachio this time said when I receive the unit to look at the serial number, call them, and they can tell me if it is an older unit based on their manufactured date. What started me to check this out was that Costco’s pictures may be old, pictures were of a 16 zone unit, and there were over 3000 reviews from customers going back 4 years.

Hopefully when rachio is given the unit’s serial number it will be a current version. If not I will be returning it to Costco PDQ…

EDIT… Found out it shipped from California… make me more comfortable…

One more post then I’m done until I can check the unit:

Saw a very recent e-bay add with Model Number 12ZULW-C and it says new… 96 sold already…

And this e-bay for refurbished 12ZULW-C-C UNITS:

And e-bay Certified Refurbished: 12ZULW-C-B

I received the new 12 Zone rachio 3 today that came from Costco. I took off the cover to view attached sticker that has a lot of info on it.

It shows this to which I omit the serial # and MAC address. Looks like May 23, 2023 with Model #: 12ZULW-C