If you are the owner of a private house with a beautiful garden, then you must have a lawn and various ornamental plants. All this beauty needs regular watering, which can provide a modern system of timers and controllers. The sprinkler controller is the “brain” of the automatic irrigation system, an essential element that is responsible for regular soil moistening, timely execution of user tasks, and effective water consumption. The controller receives data from the sensors of wind, temperature, and rain. One should choose a controller for drip irrigation, taking into account the needs of the system, its size, and user convenience. Nowadays there`re a lot of different types of sprinkler controllers for drip systems: for installation in the open air and indoors; powered by battery or electrical network; simple controllers, where you set the duration of irrigation and the interval between them, and modern programming systems with control of different zones and connecting sensors. Leading manufacturers of drip irrigation systems produce controllers for greenhouses and large fields, winter and vegetable gardens, and private lawns. Today we`re going to compare two very popular models - Rachio 2nd Generation and Orbit 57946 B-hyve - and find out which one is better.
Rachio 2nd Generation Sprinkler Controller
The Rachio 2nd Generation sprinkler system automatically generates irrigation schedules that help you reduce water consumption and ensure the maintenance of optimal soil moisture. The controller looks like a small control unit that is installed on any vertical surface (the wall of the house, for example). It can be easily integrated into the general irrigation system and connected to the home Wi-Fi network for remote control. Thus, thanks to synchronization with a special mobile application, you get the opportunity to control the device from anywhere via a smartphone. The mobile app allows you to control the watering of zones manually, receive notifications about malfunctions, long breaks and other events, as well as monitor water consumption and provide access to the system to other users, for example, gardeners or irrigation specialists.
Rachio company produces smart sprinkler controllers for 8 and 16 separate irrigation zones, which means that you can set your special irrigation schedule suitable for these plants in each separate zone. You download an application, and you are invited to specify the type of plants, soil, the degree of illumination of the areas by the sun, etc. for each zone.
The system continually receives data from the weather station in real time. This means that it automatically calculates irrigation cycles, taking into account the settings and weather data, on the basis of which the controller stops watering before, during, after rain and in cold weather. In case of a Wi-Fi failure or a poor connection, the memory of the device saves the last valid schedule and maintains it until the connection is restored.
The Rachio irrigation system can easily become part of a smart home. It directly integrates with platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Nest, Google Assistant, and others.
A smart garden, lawn, and vegetable garden irrigation system helps set the irrigation schedule manually or automatically and water plants according to the soil, type of plants, access to sunlight, and other factors. Installation of such equipment significantly optimizes water consumption and, consequently, your costs. Practice shows that water consumption for the garden watering is halved. The system is also able to update and prevent water leaks. The cost of the Rachio 2nd Generation sprinkler controller is 170-250 dollars.
Orbit 57946 B-hyve Sprinkler Controller
The second representative of our review is Orbit 57946 B-hyve sprinkler controller. This device is in many ways similar to the previous one and, as one can say, almost identical to it.
Orbit B-hyve also looks like a small, solid box. Outside the controller is hidden in weatherproof case that makes it easy to set the timer in the room or outdoors without risk of weather damage.
You can manage this controller using applications for Android and iOS. The device also supports various voice assistants. The software allows users to divide the entire irrigation area into 6 separate zones and set their own schedule at each site according to the characteristics and requirements of the plants. The controller can also set a schedule for you. It bases on weather and precipitation data.
Orbit is equipped with Weather Sense technology, which regulates watering depending on conditions, such as slope, type of soil, the intensity of daylight, climatic conditions of the region, etc. This technology independently regulates watering, providing the soil with the right amount of water. In case of frost, cold wind or rain, the system will automatically shut off the water supply. Thanks to this intelligent approach, you save up to 50% of water. Besides, you can see how much water was consumed in the last month or year, adjust the watering, and be aware of your expenses. An average price for one item is 100 dollars.
The main difference between the two sprinkler controllers lays rather in the functionality and convenience of the application than in the principle of operation and technical characteristics. As we have already found out, both devices are controlled via a smartphone and offer the same list of features, but according to the users` opinion, the application of Rachio device is more user-friendly than Orbit in terms of ease of use and location of control points and information. Both controllers notify you of the end of watering, but only Rachio will tell you about the beginning of the cycle. Also, our first model has from 8 to 16 watering zones, and Orbit offers only 6 (in some models, maximum 12). However, if with Rachio you can control it through the app and a pair of buttons on the device, then Orbit has an additional display with control buttons on the controller itself. That`s very convenient since in case of a phone breakdown or other situation you always have an alternative.
So, both smart devices for the garden show themselves from the best side and almost in no way inferior to each other. If you have a large budget, we advise you to buy the Rachio 2nd Generation. Though it`s more expensive, it`s also more convenient. Orbit 57946 B-hyve will become a worthy and cheaper option, which is still quite reliable.