Best Sprinkler system?

So I'm going to be installing a sprinkler system soon and using the Oribit system (only using one so only have 3 zones, front, side, back) What's is everyone's recommendation to use with HE?

1 Like

I personally use and LOVE the Rachio system:

Amazon Link


Just buy electric valves for sprinklers, transformer to 24VAC and dry relays (e.g. shelly 1 or Fibaro switch) and you can controll sprinklers from HE directly.

1 Like

I get that but I'd like something that can be controlled or in case of a problem be run seperately...

I 2nd this. I've had mine (16 zones) for about 2 years now and it just works. It takes a little time to get it adjusted properly at first, but once you get your flow rates and all that figured out it's pretty awesome. I usually forget it exists until I see posts mentioning it.

1 Like

Any real diff between the 3 and the 3e?

I didn't know the 3e existed until just now so I looked it up. You do lose a few features like Flex Daily which is what I use. With flex daily the system changes how much it waters on a daily basis after taking into account of the temperature, whether it rained recently, etc. Here's a forum post talking a bit about it.


I have Rain Machine. It has been flawless ever since I installed it five years ago. There is an integration for it that makes it easy to use.

The box runs a version of Android and allows control at the unit, or via Wi-Fi, and via the HE community integration. I have no comparison to other options as Rain Machine is the only one I've owned. Below is what I have...they also have a 16-station version, and smaller options as well.

I put mine in an outdoor box to keep it clean and dry.


If you use shelly modules, they can run fully independently if needed. And cost just friction of the price of irrigation system.
One of the benefits of Home Automation is, that central unit can replace other controlling units (irrgation, alarm, heating controllers...). I dont see reason to invest into sprinkler controller, if HE (or any hub) can fully replace its functionality. But at the end, decision is yours.

Highly recommend Rachio. I have it at two houses and it's one of those rare things that just works.

I don't know why they came out with the 3e, but if you're going to spend the money get the 3. It uses weather data to determine when to water your lawn. Use the Flex Daily schedule if at all possible, and try to be accurate about the parameters of your zones (soil type, sprinkler head type and GPM, etc.),

Couple of years ago we bought a new house and the sprinker system wasn't working. If it weren't for the large amount of rainfall we normally get in the summer, the grass almost certainly would be been dead.

I fixed the timer and set it to run every day. That's overkill and I know better, but I did it anyway and my water bill was over $700 for the first month (we have a separate water meter for the sprinklers). So I set it to run 2x a week, and it dropped to about $250. Still a shock, since my other house had a well so irrigation water was basically free.

Installed the Radio and the bill dropped to ~$50, and has stayed around there ever since, and the grass is doing fine.

I never looked into HE automation with Rachio because it simply isn't necessary. The whole key here is to water the lawn when it's needed and the only way to determine that is by weather analysis. HE integration isn't going to give you that. Get a Rachio, set it up with Flex Daily schedules and set it so watering ends before sunrise and forget about it.


In some cases.

In my dry area we can only water 1 day a week anyway. No need for a sensor - it always needs water. Because of that I don't even bother brining it into HE.

So all cases are unique. :slight_smile:

OH, sorry. Never mind my comment then LOL. I agree with you.

I actually have moisture sensors. They aren't very useful in my case. I used them once to get a baseline, and haven't really been useful since then other than to verify that my intermittent watering schedule still works. Every watering cycle the ground is dry as heck, and the water can only be absorbed so fast so I'm usually limited by the hours I can water more so than how much.

But for more "normal" watering situations, I think moisture sensors are VERY useful tools.

Oh, and per the original post... I use Rain Machine currently (used to use Rachio). Rain Machine easily integrated with my weather station, which was the main reason I went that way on this house.

In the end, having local rainfall amounts in it to adjust watering wasn't especially useful in my area though.

1 Like

Ok, fair enough. But that's quite a bit more complicated, no? You need soil moisture sensors, and knowledge of the proper moisture level and algorithms to determine how long to water, right? Or are you using real-time feedback from the moisture sensors to stop watering?

FWIW, I have Rachio configured to use my own weather station (Tempest) mounted on my roof, so its predictions at least in theory should be more accurate than aggregating data from stations in the area. I haven't observed any difference in watering schedules or water cost using my PWS as input though (that's not why I bought it).

No doubt, knowing is better than predicting but in this case is it worth the extra complexity? If there's a significant difference between the predicted and actual moisture level, sure. But is that the case? I'd think that these sort of predictions would be based on lots of research and accurate enough unless you have a special case.

That's a whole different argument than soil moisture prediction accuracy. Sure, a 100% local-based system is generally better than one that's dependent upon cloud services. But in this case you just have different points of failure (your Ecowitt sensors) than I do. In both our cases, there are things that can go wrong which turn our respective systems into dumb timers.

Far as being "very" expensive, Rachio cost me $100 over your solution ($219 at Costco)., but it turned out to be one of those rare things that I could just install and forget, so for me that cost is insignificant. If my lawn looked like crap or my water bills were high, I'd certainly have a different opinion. Nothing wrong with your approach though.

At this point I guess the Rachio is my best bet. Yeah I could let HE run everything but I'd rather have something that can be controlled regardless of it being connected to HE or manually. HE will let me add a few things in the future as I see how things go. I will be mapping everything and trenching in the next few weeks. Also the fact that the unit will keep my water costs down is a big bonus...


Yes, one other advantage that things like Rachio have is that any professional sprinkler person could figure it out. Likewise for my alarm system. Although HE can act on events generated by it, it's not required for the alarm system to function and any alarm professional could work on it.

I often think about how my wife would deal with things if I met an untimely demise (or lost my mind which sometimes seems like a distinct possibility). She is fine with my HA stuff, and she's a smart woman but has no interest in how it works, or learning about such things.

For the most part, if all my hubs went south things would still be functional (except of course for schedules, etc.). If she decided to sell the house, it could be sold pretty much as-is without having to replace any devices or change wiring.

Not necessarily a concern for everyone, but something I try to keep in mind.


I absolutely love my RainMachine. Although I will admit that I rarely, if ever, use the touch panel on the device. Which is a reason I picked it over the Rachio unit. I have my garden and back yard attached to a zigbee remote which comes in handy doing yard work and dialing in the system. Way easier that launching an app.

1 Like

I'll integrate the Rachio with the HE and make sure I have a remote fob handy to spray the wife and kids at random :stuck_out_tongue:


Ohhh no, I would never. :wink: But I do use the remote for the dog to play in the sprinkler when it's hot out.

1 Like

I’ve been very happy with Spruce Irrigation systems. I’ve been running them for several years and they basically run untended for weeks. I have 6 zones and a sensor for each zone. It integrates with Hubitat but it doesn’t matter much because it’s so automatic.

1 Like