Smart devices are invading your garden, making it easier for you to keep your plants well-watered while also reducing water consumption.
If you do not want to stress over how much, how long, and when to water your garden, then get rid of your current sprinkler system and get either a Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller or a GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub.
Contents (Jump to)
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
Rachio is a smart irrigation system that allows you to water yourgarden in such a way that you save water while also keeping your plants healthy. Traditional irrigation systems work by turning on the water at a specified time and then turning it off after a certain amount of time has passed.
The traditionalsystem can be wasteful since it still waters your garden even when it is no longer necessary, like when it just rained.
Rachio makes it easier for you to come up with a watering schedule that also takes into consideration the local weather and the soil moisture.
This means that Rachio won’t be watering your plants when it just rained and the soil is still very wet, or that it would be watering your plants more thoroughly when the sun’s very hot and the soil is very dry.
You do not have to worry about anything with regard to your watering schedule because Rachio does the computations for you.
You can replace your current controller and it would not take you more than 30 minutes. Then connect your Rachio Irrigation controller to your Wi-Fi network. Once you’re connected to the Internet, you can control your smart irrigation system using your smartphone.
You can add several details that would help the Rachio customize your yard’s watering. For instance, you can add soil and plant types, how exposed the plants are to the sun or the level of watering they like, and other information.
The system will be responsible for calculating the right watering levels for each zone in order to help you save water and avoid water runoff.
Fixed vs. flexible scheduling. Rachio allows you to save water by first calculating the optimal amount of water that your garden or plants need. But you can also save more by having it water only when needed.
You can choose a fixed schedule and Rachio will water your plants on specific days, without fail. However, if you want to save more, you can choose a flexible schedule that Rachio adjusts according to your local climate and the weather.
Weather Intelligence. Rachio has Weather Intelligence technology, which pulls weather information from local weather stations and uses these forecasts in order to adjust the set watering schedule. This means that it will notbe watering your garden when it’s raining, or that it will watering more when it’s too hot.
Smart Cycle. Rachio allows you to break up your watering schedule into shorter runs. For instance, instead of having your irrigation system water your garden for 15 minutes, you can have it run thrice for 5 minutes each, thus effectively eliminating or reducing runoff.
The mobile app
You can use the mobile app to set up the zones and input the necessary details that would help Rachio determine the best watering schedule for each zone. But that is not all it does. The mobile app also allows you to stop or start watering even when you are not home.
It will also send you real-time alerts to let you know everything that is happening in your garden, including whether it has finished watering or if there are faulty valves that you need to attend to.
You can also use the app to share access with other people, as well as get detailed information on your water use.
What’s in the box?
- Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Power Supply with 6-ft Cord
- Mounting Hardware
- Quick Start Guide
Getting more with integrations
Rachio works with normally closed rain sensors to help it know when it is raining so as to save water. Rachio also works with flow sensors. Note that Rachio does not have these sensors on board, but can work with third-party sensors.
It also works with other connected devices. For instance, you can connect it with your Nest Protect and it will start watering the different zones around your house when Nest detects smoke. You can also issue a voice command when you pair it with Amazon Alexa.
Rachio further works with IFTTT recipes, allowing you to integrate it with other smart devices in a simple and easy way. You can get IFTTT recipes such as “If the temperature is freezing or below freezing, stop all watering schedules.”
You can also integrate your Rachio Irrigation with Wink, Control4, and Nexia.
GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub
GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub controls your watering and irrigation. You just connect it to your irrigation valves and connect it to the Internet. GreenIQ can connect to the Internet in three ways.
There’s an Ethernet connection, Wi-Fi connectivity, and even HSDPA connectivity. You can also connect your garden’s lighting to your smart irrigation controller.
It comes with a browser-based app that can run on any device connected to the Internet, including PCs, Android devices, or iOS devices. Using the mobile app, you can create your own schedules and even control when the garden lights come on or turn off.
You can check on the system status, or whether the watering is ongoing or already finished. You also need the mobile app to register an account, view savings reports, and configure the settings.
Further, all of the schedules and system settings are stored on the GreenIQ Cloud, which also handles status updates and software updates.
Like the Rachio, GreenIQ also relies on sensors and the latest weather forecasts, to calculate a watering schedule on its own, helping you save water and keeping your plants alive.
Compatibility to sensors
GreenIQ works with several sensors to get as much information about your garden and plants so that it could adjust watering levels accordingly and help you save even more. It can connect and work with soil moisture sensors such as Vegetronix and PlantLink, rain sensors, and the GreenIQ flow meter.
It can also connect to the Netatmo weather station and Netatmo rain gauge. Netatmo measures weather conditions such as temperature, noise levels, carbon dioxide, and humidity levels right at your own home.
This way, GreenIQ would have a more accurate sense of how hot or humid it is where you are and adjust watering schedules accordingly.
GreenIQ works with smart home automation platforms. GreenIQ works with IFTTT recipes, making it work with a wide range of smart devices and online services.
You can also tell Alexa to start watering and it will also show you how much water you have saved if you have Amazon Echo. It also works with Nest Protect, protecting you if the Nest Protect detects smoke.
GreenIQ also has integrations and works with Control4, Conrad Connect, Crestron Pyng, Muzzley, and Gideon Smart Home
What’s in the box
Each package comes with everything you need to install your GreenIQ:
- GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub
- Power adapter
- Installation guide
- Mounting kit and ruler
- Wire labels kit
- 1 meter Ethernet cable
- GreenIQ screwdriver
- GreenIQ user card
GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub vs. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller: What to buy?
If you have a big garden, you do not have to think too hard about it. GreenIQ can cover six zones (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). For the same price, you can get a 16-zone Rachio (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). And if you have a small yard, you might save with an eight-zone Rachio, which is cheaper.
But if price is not a consideration, it would be a bit more difficult to choose from GreenIQ and Rachio.
Both of the smart irrigation controllers are able to work with soil moisture, humidity, water flow, and other sensors as well as connect to your local weather station to help it come up with a watering schedule that helps save you money, cut down on your water use and still keep your garden green and vibrant. Both can also connect to Netatmo weather stations.
In terms of accessibility, you can control your GreenIQ or Rachio from anywhere in the world using an iOS or Android device, or a computer that is connected to the Internet.
However, Rachio wins when it comes to the range of integrations it offers. While both GreenIQ and Rachio are easily integrated with Nest Protect, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Control4, GreenIQ does not have Rachio’s ready integrations with Nexia and Wink.
If you prefer to protect your smart irrigation controller from water damage, you can go with the water resistant GreenIQ, or buy an outdoor enclosure for your Rachio.
To make it easier for you to decide, here’s a side by side comparison for these two smart irrigation controllers:
|Dimensions||9.25″ L x 5.625″ H x 1.625″ W||5.91″ D x 2.09″ H|
|Weight||1.2 lbs||0.86 lbs|
|Price||8 zones (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||6 zones (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Price||16 zones (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|iOS mobile app||√||√|
|Android mobile app||√||√|
|Zones||Up to 16 zones||Up to 6 zones|
|Input||120V AC / 60Hz||120V AC / 60Hz|
|Output||24V AC||24V AC|
|Operating Temperature Range||-31 °F to 140 °F||-4 °F to 131 °F|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 2.4GHz required.||Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet, and HSDPA|
|Master Valve||Supports master valve/pump relay.|
|Warranty||2-year limited warranty||2-year limited warranty|
|Power use||In case power interruption of Wi-Fi connectivity goes out, the controller will store the last saved schedule in memory and wlil continue to follow that schedule until further updates are available.||Average power consumption: 3.5W|
|Waterproof?||Only with optional outdoor enclosure (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||Water resistant|
If you look at it from the price standpoint or the range of integrations, it would seem that Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controlleris better than GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub.
Aside from these two considerations, however, nothing much separates these two smart irrigation controllers and you could very well choose one over the other depending on your preferences and choices. You are still guaranteed that you would get one of the best smart irrigation controllers in the market today.
However, if you want to be extra sure, you can also look into competitors such as Blossom, Spruce, or BlueSpray. Chances are, you would still be comparing these to both GreenIQ and Rachio.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!