September 27, 2023

Good hose timers make a lot sense on paper—they can help you flip something hooked up to your hose spigot on and off from anyplace utilizing your telephone. And if it’s raining, the sensible timer will know and switch off the circulate for you. It will even observe how a lot water you’re utilizing, can help you arrange automated watering schedules, activate and off with a single button press—although these are guarantees even “dumb” hose timers make.

The issue with sensible timers is that you simply usually can’t belief them—the wifi disconnects, the batteries run out, or they leak, and also you’re out of luck. After making an attempt various sensible hose choices available on the market, from the Hunter BTT to the Orbit B-Hyve, I examined out the brand new Rachio earlier this summer time, and it outperformed all of them—it’s the primary timer that’s been predictable and steady. Sadly, it’s additionally missing among the superior options and adaptability of these underperforming fashions.

The Rachio is absolutely two elements: a hose timer, which attaches to your hose, and a wifi hub, which can stay inside your own home. Regardless of what number of timers you’ve, you solely want one hub. You should buy the preliminary hub/timer combo for $99, and extra timers for $79.

What I appreciated in regards to the Rachio Good Hose Timer

Many hose timers are likely to look misplaced—like a snake that ate a bicycle wheel. It’s because so a lot of producers cram a variety of buttons and screens onto a tool that can be caught to a hose. Rachio takes the alternative tack with a sleeker, less complicated design that all however forces you to make use of the app for each interplay. Their timer is lengthy, rectangular, lacks a display screen, and has solely one button, which turns it on and off. It has a smaller footprint but in addition is coloured and formed to soften into the background. It’s positively fashionable.

The button responds in a tactile solution to let you realize it’s been pushed, which different timers don’t. I like that the battery cowl is held in place by a couple of small screws. Usually, this might be a ache level, because you want a small screwdriver to alter the batteries, however this has been a failure level on different fashions, just like the B-hyve. The battery chamber wants to remain dry even when it’s raining or if the hose leaks, and on different fashions, the rubber collars meant to carry the batteries in place all failed, inflicting battery points. The screws on the Rachio do the job, although I want it shipped with the screwdriver you want.

Talking of batteries, since these hose timers aren’t related to energy the way in which regular sprinkler timers are, they burn via batteries. Battery life on a “dumb” hose timers may be years, but earlier sensible hose timers have been burning via batteries in weeks. The Rachio’s batteries have barely diminished since I obtained it, which is an excellent signal.

The Rachio doesn’t leak, whereas every different timer I attempted leaked, and was fussy about the way it was positioned—if I knocked into it ever so barely, they would begin to gush water. Whereas I did want to make use of some plumbers tape on the tap to safe the Rachio, that was anticipated, and I’ve had no points.

Principally what I like in regards to the Rachio is that it really works. It’s by no means as soon as missed a cycle or gone offline for days. I want that wasn’t saying loads, however it’s.

Easy to a fault

Image for article titled The Rachio Is My Favorite Smart Hose Timer

Screenshot: Rachio

Loads of folks want just one hose timer for one hose, however a few of us have a number of hoses going to completely different yard areas. Personally, I’ve sprinklers hooked up to 1 hose timer, and drip to a different. Different manufacturers, like B-hyve, supply a 2-zone choice. Rachio has determined to maintain it easy and demand you employ single zone timers—simplicity to a fault, as at $70 a pop, that may get costly. This additionally means that you may’t create schedules with each timers, as they function fully unbiased of one another within the app. You’ll need to program them individually.

Extra annoying than bothersome is that every time I open the app, there’s a lag the place the app says my system is disconnected. This freaked me out the primary time, however it resolves after a couple of seconds. I’m hard-pressed to think about a hose emergency through which 5 seconds would make a distinction, however I’d wish to see the bug resolved. Total the connectivity is nice, however I suggest establishing the notification that may provide you with a warning if your system goes offline.

What I don’t love in regards to the Rachio Good Hose Timer

Image for article titled The Rachio Is My Favorite Smart Hose Timer

Screenshot: Rachio

Since I even have a Hunter Hydrawise Good Timer in my entrance yard—a full panel for a drip system—and I’ve tried different sensible timers like B-hyve, I do know that a variety of the rationale to get a sensible timer is for the help they offer when replying on native climate and AI to resolve whether or not it’s essential to water. Rachio, withits fashionable aesthetic and tech startup really feel, ought to have that half down, however as an alternative they’ve gone actually simplistic. As an alternative of utilizing predictive watering to water roughly based mostly on the climate, Rachio appears to make use of a less complicated “don’t water if it’s raining” setup, with little configurability.

Moreover, the app may be arduous to navigate, regardless of its simplicity. The explanation I often open it is to see the watering report, which is troublesome to entry. That mentioned, these are mere annoyances, because the app does perform.

The gist

Good hose timers nonetheless have a solution to go. However of the fashions on the market, the Rachio wins for being probably the most constant, with nice battery life, steady wifi connection and a usable, if overly simplistic app. Whereas I’d wish to see all of the set up instruments you want within the field (together with a micro screwdriver and plumbers tape), and a extra strong use of AI for predictive watering, none of those points are dealbreakers, and the Rachio is a brilliant alternative.