Rachio vs. upgrading Hunter controller (pre-sales Q)


#1

Hello,

I currently have a Hunter controller (Pro-C) with just a rain sensor. Water is hugely expensive where I live, so I could save allot with more intelligent watering.

I can buy an ET sensor (Solar Sync) for my Pro-C which will give it weather sensing and WaterSense certification, and this will only cost about $125 for the wireless version. Hunter claims a similar 30%+ savings on water bills with this add-on, but it does not have any internet connectivity, which I admit is nice to have.

The hunter unit is not bad, I bought it last year from the irrigation company when I bought the house, and can probably get about $100 for it if I sold it or something.

I guess I am trying to gauge my expectations here. Will the rachio unit outperform the Hunter unit with added ET sensor, or will it be about the same, but with the added bonus of the internet and monitoring capabilities?

I am hoping there are others on this forum who maybe have experience in this question who can chime in. If the Rachio can do better using Internet capabilities, then it is probably worth the extra money.

Thanks

-Jeff
Arlington, MA


#2

Hi @jcl123, thanks for reaching out!

Great question and I hope others will reply with honest feedback. As a Rachio employee, my opinions tend to be bias :wink:

Nevertheless, I’ll get the feedback started:

Unlike most controllers, which rely on local sensors to act in a reactive state, the Iro is proactive and leverages a network of existing weather stations to take into account observed and forecasted rain. As such, the Iro can do something no sensor feedback loop offers and skip a schedule before it rains. This saves water as you’re not skipping irrigation events after the rain has fallen, but taking full advantage of the rain and allowing you to leverage rain for your net irrigation.

Additionally, we’ll be releasing out v2.0 app in the near future which will use ET and MAD irrigation principals to power FLEX schedules. FLEX schedules will water your lawn only when needed (using user imposed restrictions). Each zone will have it’s own “bank account” that will increase with “deposits” (watering events, rainfall, etc) and decrease with “withdrawals” (evaporation, wind, etc). A minimum and maximum budget for each zone will be set and the water level will automatically be kept within this budget given watering rules you set. Think of it as automated watering times with real time, seasonal adjustments on a daily basis.

I hope this gives you some insights into how the Iro is different from other controllers. Feel free to ask questions to me and or other users to clarify any questions.

Hope to see you join Team Rachio soon!

Best, Emil


#3

Hi @jcl123 - I’m a customer of Rachio and have been using my IRO since spring last year. I replaced the Pro-C that was installed when we moved in and had a completely new irrigation system installed. I also had the Solar Sync. However, I never felt I had granular enough control of the amount, duration of irrigation or determining if i need to irrigate at all based on current or near term weather changes. As you mentioned, Hunter hasn’t connected their devices to the internet so they are dependent on the data for the moment. I have come home and found it raining and the irrigation was on, either because it was raining before the scheduled time actually started or started raining during an irrigation schedule. The other thing that was missing is that I couldn’t maintain my system as easily as I wanted to. The wireless remote that the irrigation companies have costs around $600-800 (so they told me). So if I were in the yard doing some work, or turning my system on in the spring, I had to run back and forth to the controller to turn any of my 12 zones on and off and go back out to ensure everything was operating properly.

In came Rachio and they IRO product. I have not thought twice about going back to the Pro-C and Solar Sync (it’s for sale if anyone is reading this). From the start of the installation (did it myself) and the installation process and instructions, to the granular control you have in setting up each zone and configuring for irrigation head type, soil type, slope, plant material, etc., etc., I already felt I was taking control. It’s interaction with the internet meant that I would have the potential for micro climate / precipitation control and irrigate based on what was coming and what was happening. There is far more configuration and control you have in terms of scheduling, using IFTTT to integrate with other network connected devices (e.g., Netatmo, your weather station, etc.) so that I have even further control.

Oh, did I mention there is no charge for a remote control for your IRO? Their mobile based solution is included. It works while connected to the internet and allows you to stand in your yard and turn zones on and off while you are turning it on in the spring or doing any other sort of maintenance. For your irrigation company, you can create a temporary account that has a defined expiration date. They are sent an email with login instructions. They can control your irrigation system through Rachio’s web based solution as long as they have a data connected phone.

I’d like to talk to the water savings capabilities however, I have not tracked that as that was less of a concern. However, I do know general I am watering less frequently and less time then I did before.

No, i wasn’t paid for this by any stretch! I just believe these guys have done the right thing and given the homeowner great control then we’ve ever had and at the right price for the benefits. Not to mention, their support is second to none. I did have a problem with my initial IRO. They sent a replacement before I sent my defective one back. It arrived quickly and the problem was solved. They are also very interactive in these forums. I have seen features we’ve discussed become part of their software offering in future releases. That sort of support is hard to come by these days!

Good luck with your decision!

David