Best Sprinkler system?

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.

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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.

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I have a spruce as well, it works as advertised. I use the overpriced moisture sensors on the HE Zigbee network to let it know when to turn on. There 12 zones and they are supplied by a 2 HP pump pulling water out of a lake we are on. A weather station inputs wind and other information to the controller. The reason I chose spruce is that it is the only controller to support 2 zones running at the same time. I've been happy with it.

I follow the same philosophy. Everything in my smart house must still work in "normal mode" if the hubs go wonky...or if I am not there to "tinker".

Additionally any "new cool stuffz" must first pass the "wife test". If she can't operate it, then it will only be me...and what's the point?


Unrelated to smart home, but this made me laugh. My wife used to mow the grass every week because she loved the exercise. Lucky me! We had a push mower and one day I decided it was time to get a riding mower so I bought a nice zero turn. My wife is scared to death of that thing so now I get to mow the lawn every week lol. What did I do that for? :slight_smile:


That’s why our home automation devices are registered to the house’s email account, not any of our personal accounts.

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Next stop for us will be a nursing home or grave (hopefully not soon). We are old, nothing goes.

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In the case of bulbs, washing machines, garage doors, etc., I'd agree 100% there's no compelling reason to have to use a cloud account.

The only reason to buy Rachio is if you want their weather analysis service to control your sprinklers, Implementing that analysis service locally would not be practical. If you want it, you live with the potential downside of a cloud service,

Certainly there's no reason for a cloud account if you just want simple automation of your sprinklers or automation based on local sensors.


Thank you for all of this analysis and discussion! I went with the Rachio as well.

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I'm in this boat now. Are you happy with it? And if so, are you using the built in Rachio integration or something else?

I have had a Netro for a few years and it is very good but only recently opened up their API and the Alexa skill sucks - low WAF when she wants to run the garden for an extra cycle.

I installed the Rachio 3 a couple months ago - like wise I contemplated the 3e for a short time. I didn’t even install the Rachio Alexa skill. Each zone has a dimmer exposed to Alexa. My wife can just tell Alexa to set zone 1 to 10 and it runs for 10 minutes. High WAF.

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Well I'm in the stage of acquiring a controller for my irrigation. Between 2 and 4 zones zones only at this stage..

I was considering going the hubduino (esp8266) path and just doing something simple using weather forecast checks, say check if itsnforecast to rain more than 1mm then water, and water for length if time proportional to the temperature high...

But then thought let's look at the Rachio that, is widely praised here.. But v3 isn't legal here in Australia with the zwave frequency..

I'd only buy something with really good climate based analysis (I haven't had much reliability with moisture sensors), otherwise I'll stick with an esp8266 system.

I'm also from Australia. I was chatting with mircolino (not sure if that's correct), but his account is now deleted from Hubitat - not sure why. He gave me some tips, and it works well, but they dont include moisture sensors. Let me know if you're interested in the deets.

Parts mostly came from Bunnings, apart from controller via amazon.

@mike that'd be good thanks. I'll start with hubduino but possibly move to a more standalone system that has some integration..

@JasonJoel I'm in the market to replace my basic "timer-based" irrigation controller. As one of the few people who've used both the Rachio and RainMachine, is your preference still for the RainMachine? I only have 5 zones, so the RainMachine Pro 8 will work and is about $30 cheaper than the Rachio but is out of stock at the moment.

The two biggest factors for me are to reduce water usage (about $100 per month in the summer but will go up this year) and to optimize the amount of water each zone gets. Some areas of my lawn are very sandy and others are mostly loam. I'm sure the sandy areas would benefit from more frequent, short duration watering. I don't currently have any soil moisture sensors and would rather not add them off i could get good results without them. Although, if it turns out that they are worthwhile, i could see adding an Ecowitt system into the mix.

I replaced my Netro last year for a Rachio.

There is a nice community app for integration.


I like them both. Since I have a weatherflow weather station I went with rain machine last time since it had an integration. I haven't looked at rachio in years so maybe it has one now too, I don't know.

I think the rachio is a more stable platform overall though. I noticed my rain machine randomly reboots a few times a month, which my rachio never did. Not a big deal, and it has never done it during the watering cycle, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Having had both I will say that having hyperlocal rainfall and temperature measurements via my weatherflow weather station really hasn't changed the actual watering very much. Around here once it gets hot we're usually underwater restrictions and can only water once a week anyway. By then everything is so parched it just needs Max water anyway, so it didn't do much for me.

For my uses, if I had to buy a new one tomorrow I would buy whichever of those two I could find the cheapest that had enough zones.


I've had my Rain Machine for years and have really liked it. Unlike @JasonJoel mine has been stable and I don't see any regular reboots. I have the 12 zone unit.

What I like:

  • Integrates w/weather services
  • Integrates w/my personal Ambient weather station
  • You can set watering controls to respect or ignore weather (e.g., water even if it's raining or just rained) by each individual scheduled watering event
  • You can set the extent to which watering respects forecasted rain (e.g., assume that only 80% of forecasted rain is experienced) - screen shot below:

There is just a ton of control available over your irrigation, and mine has been drop-dead reliable. Would buy it again in a heartbeat.


This chip shortage has made people nuts....

Used ones are selling for almost full retail cost of new. I'll wait, thank you very much.