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Rachio 8ZULWC-L R3e Generation: Smart, 8 Zone Sprinkler Controller, Works with Alexa, Gen, Gray
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- Automatically save money and water. See savings in your monthly watering bill with the Rachio 3e Smart Sprinkler Controller. For even greater recurring water savings, check out the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller!
- Cut back on unnecessary watering – without compromising your lawn’s health. Rachio 3e’s standard Weather Intelligence automatically skips unnecessary watering with features like Rain Skip, Wind Skip, Freeze Skip, Saturation Skip, and Seasonal Shift. Select the best-selling Rachio 3 for premium Weather Intelligence Plus features and upgraded weather forecasting.
- Control your sprinklers from anywhere with Rachio’s free, easy-to-use app. Run, pause, and stop your sprinklers directly from your smartphone or mobile device.
- Get watering in no time. Install the Rachio 3e in 30 minutes or less with no special tools needed.
- Deliver the water your plants need – automatically. Rachio creates smart schedules based on the needs of your lawn, including plant type, soil type, sun exposure, and more.
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From the manufacturer
Weather Intelligence references satellite, radar and weather station data to provide automatic adjustments for rain, wind or snow.
Smarter Watering – Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Replace your old controller
Test your sprinkler system and remove the old controller, then mount your new Rachio (our handy mounting template can help save time!)
Plug existing wires into Rachio
Easy-press terminals help you quickly snap into place – no screwdriver needed! Match the wires from your old setup for ready-made wiring.
Complete setup in the Rachio app
The streamlined Rachio app helps connect your controller to Wi-Fi and then customize your zones and watering schedules.
|Rachio R3||Rachio R3e||Rachio Gen 2||Other Smart Controllers|
|Program and control your sprinklers from your smartphone||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Supports 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Compatible with rain and soil sensors||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Most- and highest-rated smart sprinkler controller brand||✓||✓||✓|
|Variety of schedule types customized to meet the needs of each of your different zones||✓||✓||✓|
|Rain, freeze, and wind skips||✓||✓||✓|
|Works with Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, Nest, SmartThings, IFTTT, and more||✓||✓||✓|
|Supports 5-GHz Wi-Fi||✓||✓||-|
|Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus||✓||-|
|Compatible with the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter||✓||-|
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Wireless Cloud|
|Item Dimensions||9.10 x 1.40 x 5.60 inches||9.10 x 1.40 x 5.60 inches||3.75 x 9.38 x 8.63 inches||3.50 x 7.00 x 8.75 inches||1.25 x 7.00 x 6.00 inches||4.00 x 8.75 x 9.00 inches|
The Rachio 3e Smart Sprinkler Controller is simply designed for easy installation and watering control. Automatically manage your sprinklers from anywhere with the Rachio app (standard app included with purchase). Create recommended watering schedules that work with your yard while saving water and money on your monthly watering bill. The Rachio 3e can replace most sprinkler controllers and timers. Wi-Fi and smartphone required for installation. For expanded features, additional smart home integrations, and premium Weather Intelligence™ Plus weather prediction technology, check out the best-in-class Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.
Top reviews from the United States
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IN A NUTSHELL
Rachio, perhaps in an effort to appeal to a wider range of customers, introduced the lowest-cost version of its Rachio 3 line. It does so by stripping some functions and excluding future software features, such as Weather Intelligence Plus, Flex Daily, Yard Map, Apple HomeKit support, and integration with other, wireless devices like rain sensors and Rachio's own Wireless Flow Meter. If you are looking for a less expensive, smart sprinkler controller for use at, perhaps, an investment property, then the R3e serves its purpose well. The unit still provides app-based, wireless remote control with historical data, weather-based irrigation, and smarts based on soil and plant types -- all in a bland, gray enclosure for $80 less than the R3. The included, standard Weather Intelligence service helps provide more efficient water usage and saves on long-term water expenses by skipping watering when rain, wind, freezing temperatures, and/or saturation levels are predicted.
If you do not need any of the newer features, including Weather Intelligence Plus, Yard Map, and Apple HomeKit, you may want to consider the older Rachio 2 flagship. It costs about the same as the R3e and provides Flex Daily scheduling.
SOME NOTES BEFORE GOING INTO THE DETAILS:
- To take advantage of the smart features, a WiFi connection and Rachio account are required
- The Rachio is powered by an AC transformer with a 6' cord
- Dimensionally, the R3 and R3e are identical at 9.1" x 5.5" x 1.4" and 1.05 lbs
- Remote control of sprinkler controller
--- Great for investment properties to help manage water usage from a distance, including automatic skipping on rainy or windy days
--- Multiple Rachio app installations can manage one or more controllers
- Weather Intelligence
--- Skips watering due to predicted rain, precipitation values, high wind, freezing temperatures, and/or saturation level
--- Seasonal Shift: adjusts watering length with each season
--- Uses a single National Weather Service or Personal Weather Station to adjust watering schedule
------ If a station becomes unavailable, you have to choose another
--- Rachio 3, in contrast, uses Weather Intelligence Plus
------ Adds satellite, radar, and other data to more accurately predict weather
------ Automatically chooses another, local weather station as one is unreachable for a specific amount of time
- Easy installation
--- Hook-up was quite easy, if you already have an existing sprinkler system to move from
--- Wires are installed via push instead of screw terminals. 14, 16, and 18-gauge wires supported
- Support for up to 8 zones
--- Each zone waters specific areas and is controlled by an irrigation valve
--- Rachio 3 can go up to 16 zones
- Rachio App (iOS, Android) to wirelessly operate and configure the controller
--- Wizard-driven setup of Zones, each with their own schedules, start times, and water cycles based on soil and plant (tree, grass, bush, flowers) types, coverage area size, sun exposure level, and more
--- View historical data, including water usage and scheduled runs
--- View weather forecasts and monthly watering schedules
--- Sharing of Rachio controllers with others
------ Allows friends, family, and property managers to control each unit remotely
--- One-time Quick Run for zones for a specified amount of time
--- Allows for identification of each Zone with a name and photo
--- Watering tips for different types of soil and plants
- Flexible watering schedules
--- Schedule Types
------ Fixed: which days to water on and for how long
------ Flex Monthly: automatic watering based on Rachio recommendations
--------- Recommendations are re-evaluated monthly
--------- Per-Zone recommendation is made based on soil and plant type, sun exposure level, and more
------ Rachio 3 also supports Flex Daily to allow for the daily re-evaluation of schedules
--- Start and End Times
------ Start after sunset or end before sunrise
--------- Only one of each can be set up per controller
--------- You cannot schedule multiple zones to start after sunset, for example
------ Start at or end by specific time
--- Cycle Types
------ Manual: how long to water for
------ Smart Cycle: perhaps one of the most powerful features of the Rachio. See TIPS section for more detail
--------- Set watering length and the controller automatically irrigates, let soak, and repeats during that time period
--------- Allows for more efficient watering
--------- Allows for water to more deeply penetrate the soil down to the roots without over-saturating
- Lowest price among the Rachio 3 family
--- At the time of this writing, the R3e is $80 less than Rachio 3
--- Check your local area for any available energy rebates (search the web for "Rachio energy rebate")
- Voice control support for Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT (If This, Then That), and more
- Support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi radio frequencies
--- 2.4 GHz is slower but its signal can communicate from a greater distance
--- 5 GHz is faster but its signal cannot travel as far as 2.4 GHz
- On-unit Run, Pause, and Skip buttons for when WiFi is unavailable
--- Rachio 1 and 2 do not provide this functionality
- Comes in a bland, gray color. Rachio 3 comes in White
- Unlike Rachio 3, the R3e does NOT support:
--- Weather Intelligence Plus for more accurate, fault tolerant weather prediction
--- Integration with other, wireless devices, such as rain sensors and Rachio Wireless Flow Meter (used to detect leaks, blocks, and low-flow)
--- Yard Map. Exclusive to only certain models, can use Rachio Wireless Flow Meter to precisely water zones for a given area
--- Flex Daily scheduling (see Pros section for more details)
--- Apple HomeKit
- Pricier than sprinkler controllers by other brands
- No outdoor enclosure yet available [Update 5/31/20 from Douglas Green: Gen 3 cover works with it per Rachio customer service. Thank you, Doug!]
After I learned from the Rachio-authorized installer how he replaced my Orbit controller with the Rachio 1 in 2017, he helped me realize how simple it was. If you have an existing controller, all you have to do is map the wires from the old one to the Rachio. When I replaced a Rainbird with a Rachio 2 at our investment property, I performed the following steps:
- Most importantly, identified the COM (Common) wire. In the above example, it is white
- Plugged it into Rachio's "C" terminal
- Identified the wires for each Zone. In the above example, Red is Zone 1, Green (2), Black (3), and Orange (4)
- Plugged each wire to the corresponding Zone number on the Rachio
- From within the Rachio App, name each Zone, provide an optional photo of it, and configure the watering based on soil and plant types, sun exposure, etc.
I had no idea what type of soil I had. The Rachio-authorized installer told me at the time that it was Sandy Loam and was covered by Crabgrass. The GREAT news is, Rachio Thrive (found on Rachio's website) helps you with that for free. It does so by asking you:
- To provide your zip code
- What your yard goals are (ie. lawn for kid play, pet safety, gardening, water efficiency, curb appeal, new landscaping, etc)
- What your address is (so you can visually outline your lawn to calculate square footage)
The resulting analysis provides estimated lawn size, typical weather for the area, and soil data. In my case, our home's soil is low base organic, mildly acidic, sandy loam, and holds water ok. Who would have known?
Smart Cycle is where the controller waters for a specific time period, pauses to let the water soak into the soil, then repeats until the schedule is complete. This allows the water to fully penetrate the deeper parts of the ground without excess water running off. How does that come into play with lawn care or trees? Read on.
SMART CYCLE: CRABGRASS
As I had mentioned, my back yard was completely covered by crabgrass. The Rachio-authorized installer said that he actually liked that type of grass. It was low maintenance, grew fast, and gave him many fond, childhood memories. Fast-forward 4 years, and I came to learn that crabgrass is like weed. It takes over your yard and does not let anything else grow. It does not feel good to walk on barefooted, and (in our opinion) is not ideal for kids to play on. It also grew thicker and thicker, eventually spilling over onto the prized areas, such as the precious fruit trees and vegetables. Rachio's app (and website) said that Crabgrass, because it is like weed, obtains its water from the top soil. Its roots cannot penetrate very deep. So, all you have to do is make sure the lower levels of the soil are moist and not so much at the top. How do you do that? Smart Cycle.
CURRENT SCHEDULE: Late in winter in California, when crabgrass was dormant and dead, I started pulling them out from the backyard lawn. I then set up Rachio to run once a week for 15 minutes, starting after 5:30am, on a Smart Cycle soak. New grass seeds were sprinkled across the lawn over the spring, and a few weeks later, beautiful, lush, green grass grew. Because the soil was dry (but moist deep underneath), the nice grass continued to grow, starving the crabgrass from water and surface area to establish itself on.
SMART CYCLE: TREES
I was very frustrated by our trees in the early years of home ownership. They kept getting sick, did not produce fruit, and just did not visually look appealing. At the time, I read that watering less was better for trees, and so I shortened the watering length and increased the frequency. That did not work because although the top was moist, the deeper soil was dry. The tree roots were thirsty deep below, and weed and flowers were thriving instead. I adjusted for longer watering with less frequency. That did not work either as the soil could not absorb the water rapidly enough. As a result, excess water simply ran off, the tree roots were still thirsty, and weed and flowers continued thriving. I was constantly battling with the trees being sick, thirsty, and producing few or no fruit. The solution: Smart Cycle.
CURRENT SCHEDULE: The fruit trees are now set to Flex Monthly, starting after 5am with a total duration of 50 minutes, and on a Smart Cycle soak. The watering is allowed to happen on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday only. I do not water on other days so that the gardener can do his work on Thursdays, and my kids can play on the weekends.
Note that any overlapping schedules will simply queue up. In the above examples, the trees start at 5am (for 50 minutes), and even though the backyard lawn is set to start at 5:30am, it begins right after the previous one completes.
As a general rule of thumb, any device that is not a computer, phone, or tablet (such as the Rachio sprinkler controller, security cameras, thermostat, and TV), I put them onto a separate "Guest" WiFi network. Check your WiFi router's manual for details on how to do that.
A "Guest" network places those devices onto a separate area of your home WiFi so that if they get hacked, the attackers will have a harder time intruding your computers and steal data.
The Rachio R3e is the company's lowest-cost model of its current-generation sprinkler controllers. It provides for basic, weather-intelligent, remote controllable watering that should appeal to the majority of customers, although I am not a fan of the gray-colored enclosure. Rachio's full-featured, mobile app is very well designed, providing a wealth of data and insight to help with plant care and management of remote lawns. The Weather Intelligence service is very useful and can help save a lot of water (and cost) over the long run. If advanced features and future software functionality are desired, including integration with rain sensors and Rachio's Wireless Flow Meter, you should consider the flagship Rachio 3. However, the R3e should undoubtedly work for a long time and is a perfect match for where no frills are needed now or later. In that same sense, you may also want to consider the previous-generation Rachio 2 flagship that does nearly everything the R3e does and adds back Flex Daily.
1. I have dropped my water usage tremendously due to this device. Not only does it work with most irrigation systems, it can connect to weather stations in your area to help predict wether or not rain will be coming your way. The weather station closest to me is about six miles away so it has been very accurate. Please note that you will need to pay attention to your system when you first install it and make sure that if the system decides to skip a watering schedule, that the weather station you are tied to is close enough to be accurate. It has been spot on in my experience.
2. Having the Rachio controller makes troubleshooting or maintenance of my sprinkler system very easy. I no longer have to run a zone, run back to the controller to switch zones, and then run back to check on the next zone. Switching zones happens right from the palm of my hand from my iPhone.
3 Rachio integrates with several home automation platforms including Control4, SmartThings and Wink. This is useful because I can write rules that will delay the watering schedule. For example, if the Sonos for the backyard area is playing, delay the schedule until the speaker stops playing. It's sounds silly but it has saved me several times from total embarrassment during an outdoor gathering.
4. I get notifications every time the schedule runs or if watering is skipped due to rain. This allows me to keep an eye on what is happening.
Now that I have had the Rachio for several months, I can hinstly say it is one of my favorite connected devices. It is absolutely worth the cost as I have dropped my water bill approximately $30 per month. If you have been thinking about purchasing the Rachio, do yourself s favor and pull the trigger. You'll be happy you did.
Install time: approx 15 minutes
App is intuitive and makes setup easy
Rachio uses rain sensors and weather station data to predict rain and save from unnecessary water use.
Customer service is great!
I honestly have yet to find any. If I come across one, I will update my review.
Feel free to send any questions you have about my real world experience with this device to firstname.lastname@example.org
My only complaint is that even though I have renamed the zones to things like “front lawn” or “flower bed” when using Alexa I have to say the zone number rather than the friendly name. I’m hoping they update this as the system matures.
Overall I’m very happy and I think it will pay for itself with water savings because it knows when it rains close by. You can also hook up an external rain sensor, but I’ve opted for just using my closed weather station for climate information.
I have 2 minor gripes:
1) If I want to water some areas manually I can't just select a few zones and start watering, I have to do one at a time, waiting for that zone to finish then go back into the app and start the next area. It lets you do 1 area, or all areas, but I sometimes want to manually water 2-4 areas and the app wont make that easy.
2) From what I can tell there isn't a way to set different watering schedules for different areas, I think all zones run the same schedule. For instance, I'd like to do all of my watering at 6am, except a couple zones near my car I would like to water around 10am when the car is no longer parked in the driveway. This would allow me to do my morning watering, but wait to do areas near the driveway until we are at work to prevent water spots on the car. I would have to change ALL zones to water at 10. Bummer.
Top reviews from other countries
Since I am a building contractor, installing the Rachio controller in my home was not a problem. The controller looks as though it is hardwired however it is not. A nice clean look is very important to me. I was able to modify the wall which accepts the controller. Installation of the controller was pretty straightforward. Here are a few of the pros and cons:
Pros: The ability to control most aspects of the irrigation through my phone or computer is certainly beneficial. The Rachio Gen 2 controller uses local weather or PWS's for irrigation times. There are a couple of sensor options on the controller as well. (rain, flow) I can also manually water each zone, anytime, anywhere, if I want, thru my phone. I can also change schedules through my phone or computer. This is a very convenient feature for myself and potentially for my clients. I haven't had to use the one 800 number yet and the updates are relatively frequent. The engineers at Rachio seem to be making slight changes to the product with some improvements. So far...so good. (That's encouragement btw)
Cons: since the Rachio product is reliant on local weather stations to preform at its best, availability of good local or personal weather stations in my area is critical. The Rachio app allows you to choose local weather stations however these are limited to a few. My closes pws is 4.5 km away and the reliability is questionable. Having the WU (weather underground) as an option could be benificial to me and to Rachio. Personal weather stations in my area afiliated with the weather underground appear to be more reliant. Rachio does provide a work-a-round to the WU, but you must have a Mac ($1000-$2000). There are other option too but the price just goes up. ( special router, your own PWS $$$).
Power. An option to hardwire the product. I don't want to see the wires.
Start/Stop. I see the option to start irrigation at a specific time within the app but...I don't see the option to stop irrigation at a specific time. I need to stop at 9am. C'mon!
Generally the Rachio Gen 2 product is fairly good. The updates and improvements seem slow in coming but I hold out hope that they will eventually arrive. I'll use the Rachio and watch the updates but I will keep the Rainbird ESP-ME on hand just in case.
Update; April 2017, I've been using the Gen2 Rachio for almost a year now. No glitches at all. Updates are regular and the controller preformed as advertised. Other irrigation controllers are late to the table (smart features) or too bulky. I would give this controller 4 1/2 to 5 stars (ability to hardwire and weather station).
So far...very good.
Okay, so the lawn is now completely under control(no more mushrooms)! Here comes the convenience of the Internet enabled controller. I love, love, love complete controllability of the entire system in the palm of my hand. The smart phone application make managing the system a breeze anywhere in the world. I can turn on a zone(or manually run an entire schedule) while sitting in my gazebo or on vacation a half world away. I can test sprinkler heads (because they fail) as I wander around the yard without running down into the basement to manually spin that damn dial on the old controller. Maintaining 65 sprinkler heads is no longer a tedious task.
After the kids or I mow the lawn I like to give the lawn a 15 minute drink of water on each zone. The Rachio makes this super simple with the manual run schedule through the smart phone application. Zones are now customized, so no longer you have "Zone 1" or "Zone 2" etc on your dumb dial. You have "West back Yard", "South Fence Line" and "RV Area" etc. Not only that, each zone you have is customized by a personalized picture of that zone.
The statistics/graphs are great too. I've only had my new Rachio this season (Spring/Summer 2017), I have managed to use 34,502 liters of water and saved, due to rain delays, 27,600 liters. My lawn is mushroom free, woohoo!
Finally, the cost is nothing compared to the water savings & convenience this device brings you. This make my top three best technology purchases along side of the Nest (Indoor & Outdoor cameras, Thermostats & Smoke/Co2 Detectors), Philip Hue Lights & Accurite 5 in 1 Weather Station.
You will enjoy the Rachio.
Setup was a snap. I set the stopwatch on my phone and it took me exactly 14 minutes and 13 seconds to remove my old TORO panel and replace it with the Rachio, and I was taking my time. If I had to do it again, I'm sure it would be under 10 minutes. It was a totally seamless transition from my ancient TORO controller to the Rachio, I couldn't be more pleased.
Do not hesitate to purchase this controller if you're on the fence. I bought this on the recommendation of the owner of the irrigation company that services our sprinkler system, and I can confidently say that I can pass on the same recommendation to whoever reads this.
1. Terrific software
2. Easy to install
3. Easy to use (although you do need to pay attention to all the features Rachio has packed into the software)
4. Smart watering (monitors actual weather in your area)
5. Convienent to turn on/off zones from your phone when doing repairs/adjustments to the nozzles (instead of running back to the shutoffs or the basement)
6. Highly stable
1. Features and options can be overwhelming
What are you waiting for? Highly recommended!