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Healthy green lawns take a lot of work. Taking care of your yard – from planting your greens, to mowing your grass, to watering – just takes a significant amount of time. Especially watering your lawn. Sure, traditional sprinkler systems can help you keep the grass alive and beautiful, but it also wastes too much water.
Water is a valuable resource now that the United States is experiencing more frequent droughts. In fact, California started handing out stiff penalties to people who waste water and have even paid people to convert their lawns into something else.
If you do not want to give up your lawn and you also do not want to pay penalties or be seen as a water waster, then you should get the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller.
The reason why traditional automated water sprinkling systems waste so much water is because they do not take into consideration the weather. Nor can you monitor your usage or control it via a mobile app or through a Web interface.
Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller changes all of that.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller: The Basics and Features
- 2 The Hardware
- 3 Comparing the Different Hydrawise Zone Options
- 4 Advantages of the Hydrawise
- 5 Alternatives to the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller
- 6 Final Thoughts – Worth Getting?
Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller: The Basics and Features
Hydrawise works like the old automatic sprinkler system controllers that turn the water on at specified times. But traditional automated systems do not care what the weather is.
So, it waters your lawn even if it is raining, wasting precious water along the way. And if it is unseasonably hot, it gives your grass the same amount of water as it does any ordinary day.
The good thing about Hydrawise is that it accesses current weather forecasts in your area and adjusts the watering schedule you set. This helps you save water while also cutting down on your water use.
You set the watering schedules and control everything from a mobile app or through the Web interface. That means that you can be anywhere in the world and still be able to manage your lawn’s irrigation.
It helps that you can manage everything on your iPhone or Android device, and even if you do not have your phone with you, you just need to find a computer with an Internet connection.
The system then uses your Wi-Fi connection to access a live stream of local weather forecast. It makes use of the latest and most updated weather information to adjust the set watering schedule. For instance, if it looks like rain, then it will suspend the next watering schedule.
If it is hotter than expected, it gives your lawn more water. The system can adjust watering schedules based on temperature, predicted amount of rainfall and actual rainfall.
The zones. Depending on what hardware you choose, you can manage up to three dozen zones in your lawn. These zones are set up separately, each with its own name and each with its schedule managed separately.
That means that you can give your garden, patio, vegetable gardens, landscaping, and other areas the right level of water whether they are in the shade or under the full heat of the sun.
The flow meters and reporting. One of the best things about using Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller is that you get nifty reports on your water usage and watering activities. It keeps track of how much watering you have been doing today, the previous day, the past week and the past 30 days.
It shows you the minimum and maximum amounts of time that the sprinklers are open, as well as how much water you have saved and how much rainfall was received during a particular period. All of these reports are interactive and you can get down to the details if you really want to.
The system also has flow meters that allow you to see information for each zone, including the next watering schedule for that zone, how many liters of water it has used, and other information.
This is particularly useful because you can set up notification to alert you when a particular zone is using too much or too little water, helping you know if there is something wrong with your irrigation system.
While much of the work and features are done on the Web interface, you still would need to take a look at the hardware.
Both have practically the same features: a color touchscreen physical interface, two sensor inputs, the ability to be configured without a Wi-Fi connection, a fully sealed case and a sealed cover to protect the wiring from the elements.
The difference lies in the number of zones covered by the hardware, you can cover six zones with the 6 Zone Standard, and twice that with the 12 Zone Pro, with the option to extend up to 36 zones. The 12 Zone Pro also has a mechanism to detect broken wiring.
Compared to the Hydrawise 8 Zone that was released only a year before both the 6 Zone Standard and 12 Zone Pro were launched, you could see that the company has improved the hardware components from using a monochrome screen with keypad entry and without wiring protection.
Comparing the Different Hydrawise Zone Options
|Hydrawise 8 Zone||Hydrawise 6 Zone Standard||Hydrawise 12 Zone Pro|
|Number of zones covered||8||6||12|
|Screen Type||Monochrome||2.8 inches color TFT||2.8 inches color TFT|
|Start/Stop Zones from Unit||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Configuration without WiFi||No||Yes||Yes|
|Expansion Capability||24 Zones||No||36 Zones|
|Broken Wiring Detection||ü||No||Yes|
|Case Style||Internal||Fully sealed||Fully sealed|
|Wire Entry||Front||Rear or bottom entry||Rear or bottom entry|
|Wiring Protection||No||Sealed cover||Sealed cover|
Advantages of the Hydrawise
What sets the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller a cut above the rest? It is the wide array of benefits that you get!
Everything is easily controlled and set up. The controller’s full color touchscreen has a simple wizard that guides you through getting started and connecting to your Wi-Fi router. After that, you take care of the schedules on the mobile app or the Web interface.
Monitor your irrigation system without the app. Unlike other automated irrigation systems, you can still control your Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller using the touchscreen even when the Internet is down.
Save! Hydrawise claims that you can save up to 50% on your water bills and still have a lovely perfectly watered lawn. It also helps you save further by eliminating the need for rain sensors!
Also, the amount of savings you get varies from city to city. This screenshot shows you information on Mobile, Alabama, detailing the various weather stations available for the city, the most updated weather information, temperature and rainfall information throughout the year, and the amount of savings you can expect.
For a rainy city like Mobile, you can get substantial savings of up to 75%
A sample of six randomly selected cities showed that the savings can range from as low as 41% to as high as 62%.
|City||Estimate water savings|
|New Orleans, LA||62%|
|Beverly Hills, CA||41%|
*Data collected from https://www.hydrawise.com/calculating-water-savings
Detect faulty wiring. The Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller can also help you find out if there are faulty wirings or malfunctioning valves.
It tracks your irrigation system’s valves and wiring and notifies you when it detects abnormal currents that could be caused by a broken wire, short circuits or defective solenoid.
No additional wires. The good news is that you can use the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller using the same wires that your current controller is using. That means that you can easily replace your current irrigation system and start experiencing the many benefits that you can get from Hydrawise.
What’s more, the controller connects directly to the Internet, so you do not have to waste electricity keeping your computer or laptop turned on.
Alternatives to the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller
Like any smart shopper, we do not expect you to just buy the first smart irrigation controller that you find.
And for this reason, you should also know about the two other highly recommended automated watering systems – Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller and the RainMachine Touch HD-12 – and compared them with Hydrawise.
The Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller is the priciest in its segment, but it is packed with more features. For one, it gives you the most number of zones as you can monitor up to 36 different areas, compared to only 16 and 12 with the Rachio and Rainmachine controllers, respectively.
It also has soil, flow, and rain sensors that come standard and out of the box. You can also control your irrigation remotely using only your Web browser, so there is no need to install a mobile app if you do not want to or if your phone is low on memory.
It clearly beats the Rachio as far as local interface is concerned, as the Rachio controller does not have one. Further, you have the choice to install your Hydrawise controller outdoors, something that you cannot do with the RainMachine controller.
The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
The RainMachine Touch HD-12
Here is our side-by-side comparison of the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller, Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, and the RainMachine Touch
Hydrawise vs Rachio vs Rainmachine
|Price (base model)||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Remote access||Mobile apps + Web interface||Mobile apps||Mobile apps|
Final Thoughts – Worth Getting?
Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller is a mature product, and that certainly works to your advantage. Everything is easy and intuitive, and you can see that a whole lot of thought and care comes into the product.
It is very easy to use, from installation to scheduling, and you can pretty much forget about it after installing it for around half an hour.
You can leave it to do its work, you can tell it what to do and, best of all, it can detect a problem in your wiring or water use and alerts you so that you could take care of any issue.
While it is one of the most expensive smart irrigation controllers out there, the price difference is not that big compared to other competitors.
Its $50 more expensive price tag (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) is certainly explained by the extra features and added convenience that you see here that is not available on other controllers.
One would think that requiring users to pay for a plan is a disadvantage, but it is actually not. For as little as $5 per month, you can extend the functionality with advanced features, advanced reporting, and advanced sensors that help you get that perfectly watered lawn.
Yet, if you do not want to be bothered with all that, you can subscribe to a free plan that gives you additional functionality and reporting.
If you are serious about keeping your lawn and garden perfectly watered and healthy while also saving water, you should seriously consider the Hydrawise Smart Irrigation Controller, which is probably the best one in its price range.
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!