List of concerns/reservations

I’ve just started looking at smart sprinkler systems. Rachio and Rain machine are the two i’m considering. These two seem to be the best options currently. A big plus I see with the Rachio is the active online community and what looks like active R&D with new features being brought to market. This is great.

But I also have some reservations about the Rachio, it would be great if someone could provide feedback on whether these are real issues or not.

  1. Local control. As I understand, if there is no cloud connectivity, the controller will run the last saved program. Is this correct? And typically, at any one time, does there need to be more than 1 program stored on the controller? (in other words, what am i losing without cloud access?)

  2. Local control. Is there any way to turn the zones on and off without a phone or computer? Such as when the system is being serviced or winterized. If not, this is a hassle because I would need to be present for service calls? is there any way to give service staff temporary access to the system from their phone?

  3. Winterizing. It appears only 1 zone at a time can be run for winterizing blow outs. Is this correct? If so, it would take a long time to blow out 17 zones. I have a Hunter system currently and I think they blow out multiple zones concurrently. As others have remarked, service companies have started charging more to service smart controllers!

These are what I have found so far… any that others have had?

thank you

@mkm123 - About 18 months ago I was making the same decision that you’re doing. I had my choice down to another competitor which had more of a user interface on the device. The reasons that I went with Rachio are the two that are mentioned as big plus above - a very active user community and software updates. Since then, I’ve witnessed very good customer support by Rachio - everything from replacing lighting stuck controllers to getting picky networking to work.

Now for your reservations:

  1. In addition there are limited schedules built in if one disassociates the Rachio from the account -

Also, the schedules are run if they are NOT flex schedules. If the schedules are flex based, then the controller goes to once every three days ->

After 24 hours of being off-line Rachio should send out an email notification.

  1. One can use the buttons on the device to run a zone for three minutes -

  2. My system is located in Dallas and I’ve never winterized it, so I’ve got nothing to add here other than I think one zone at a time - limited due to electric current draw.

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Hello mkm123

I have a mixture of RainBird and Hunter equipment. This is the second season I have been using version 2. I move from a RainBird controller as it die after 9 years.

I have never needed to be there when the year end blow out is done. In fact they don’t even turn on or use the Controller to do this. They connect to an external valve they setup allowing them to blow our multiple zones concurrently. All I have had to do is to make sure the inside water valve is off. I have 11 zones and it only takes them maybe about 1 hour max to blow out the system as best as I can remember. Maybe a conversation with your service provider is in order.

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Hunter clocks can only run 1 zone at a time. If your irrigation company is blowing out more than one zone at a time they are manually opening the valves without using the clock. You can do this with the rachio as well. It looks like the Rain machine has a maximum of 16 zones and if you have a master valve or pump it takes the place of one valve bringing it to 15 zones. I read on their site that the outputs for the zones are limited so you will not be able to run 2 zones from one station. With the rachio you would be able to use the 16 zone clock and double up one of the zones if you have enough water pressure. Otherwise you would need to install 2 separate clocks to cover your 17 zones. I only charge more to install the rachio clock due to the time it takes to set up the clock with the correct soil, slope and fine tuning involved. It is much easier for me to service a system that has one installed and most of the time I can go to a property and service it without an appointment because I no longer need access to the clock in the house. This saves me and my customers time and money.

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Reasons to purchase Rachio:

  1. Excellent customer service
  2. Uses Irrigation Association best management practices to set custom program for every zone (soil type, plant type, sun exposure, sprinkler type, slope, etc.)
  3. EPA WaterSense label and SWAT tested (
  4. Long-term viability as a company
  5. Wholesale irrigation supply houses for local purchase and support
  6. Contractor base of those knowledgeable about Rachio.
  7. Popularity among consumers

Ask Rain Machine about the above and you will choose Rachio.


Thank you everyone for your inputs. I’ve been a little occupied with work and family matters, will review and get back shortly.