Smart Cycle says Soak 3 minutes and i'm confused!


I just got a rachio and have ensured that Soak and Cycle is enabled. When looking at the schedule for the next time the sprinklers will run it says that there will be a soak time of 3 minutes. What exactly does this mean? This seems really really low… Does this mean each zone will only have 3 minutes to soak?? I figured rachio with allow 30 minutes-60 minutes between each zone for soaking! Can someone explain exactly what i can expect?

Soak time is the time it will stop the sprinklers to allow for the water to soak deeper into the ground before continuing for the remainder of the time. For mine, it appears to be applied when a zone runs longer than 10 minutes.


I understand that but what exactly will happen in my case? Soak times says 3 minutes which makes no sense.

It’s likely your zones 3, 5, and 6 will rest for 3 minutes after it is on for likely 10 minutes. Rachio will turn each zone on one at a time. After at least 3 minutes, Rachio will go back to those zones with a soak time to complete the remaining 6 minutes.

A soak time only applies on my controller when a zone has longer than 10 minutes.

Hmm, i cannot believe rachio actually did this. I’m going to have to override this i guess. it should default to atleast 15 or 30 minutes IMO

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according to the documentation it shows this which seems to be untrue now?

Smart Cycle/Cycle and Soak

Smart Cycle splits the total schedule duration into a number of cycles with the goal of eliminating run off. The zone’s soil type, nozzle type, and slope impact if and when Smart Cycle turns on. Smart Cycle cycles zones to ensure each zone will get at least 30 minutes between the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. For more info, please see Smart Cycle FAQ. The schedule creator defaults this setting to enabled.

To update, select “Cycle and Soak” and then make your selection (Rachio recommends “Smart Cycle”).

I’m actually still trying to figure it out. I’m thinking maybe the soak time is added automatically in addition to the time it takes for subsequent zones to finish. It’s changes depending on your settings. Also, because it’s getting colder, Rachio takes that into consideration and my zones area on as long as it was a month or so ago.

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Each zone will soak for 30 minutes before it runs again. The controller will run each zone for its max run time, then move on to the next zone. It’ll wait, if needed, before running that zone again. In this case it’ll only wait for 3 minutes because it’ll cycle through all the other zone over a course of 27 minutes before getting to the zone again.

Hey @NCSuggs,

That makes alot more sense. I wish the way the data was displayed was less confusing.

How do i figure out how many times it will actually cycle and soak in my case besides having to do the math? Does it show this anywhere?

Check out and the FAQ section. They show based on soil type, nozzle type, and slope the table show maximum run time.

My two zones in the backyard operate differently from each other for some reason. One soaks for 10 minutes then finishes the cycle, the other just runs entire cycle. Both identical areas, no rhyme or reason it does this.

@behrygood1982, your zones run one at a time. When zone 1 stops to start zone 2, zone 1 starts soaking in. By the time that the controller gets back around to running zone 1, its already soaked for the total time that the other zones have been running.

You have 3 minutes of soak listed probably because your smart soak settings have split the watering duration of the zones into parts where, at the end of the cycle, the other zones don’t run long enough to soak one of your zones, so the controller will go into soak mode for 3 minutes to ensure that the smart soak time is met on that zone. When the controller is running, you can see this listed in the running schedule in the “up next” pane.

This is why i typically set my zones to run for times that are divisible by the smart soak settings. E.g.: Smart soak settings: Run 12min, Soak 30min
Total Run time per zone: 48min
This means that my 4 zones will run 12 minutes each, and soak for 36 minutes (while the other zones are running) and the last zone will run for 12 minutes at the end of the cycle, with no separate soak time.

Hopefully that all made sense. Let me know! :slight_smile: