As a connected and efficient American, you know that technology can make your life easier. In fact, you’ll use technology in your home at least 5 times before ever stepping out the door going to work. From your cell phone and WIFI to your smart home devices, you’re well plugged in and proud of it.
So why not extend this modern marvel to your yard?
You know you can’t have a healthy yard without making sure it gets enough water. And going out regularly, turning on the hose, and getting to work just doesn’t cut it for you. You have far too many other things to do. That’s why you installed an irrigation system.
But now you have to remember to make sure it is doing its job and manually turn it off or make adjustments due to weather or other factors that impact the amount of water your lawn needs this week. No thank you.
That’s why upgrading to a smart sprinkler controller just makes sense. You’ll get the ease of access, notifications, and one-touch options that make managing your sprinkler system super easy.
Since there are many options out there on the market, we wanted to narrow it down to two of our favorites, so you don’t have to waste a lot of time window shopping online.
Allow us to introduce the Rachio and the Skydrop. This Rachio vs. Skydrop guide will help you determine what’s the best wifi sprinkler controller for your needs.
About Rachio’s WiFi Sprinkler Controllers
Rachio’s Design and Ease of Use
The Rachio features a minimalist design that’s clean and simple. It may not impress you at first, but don’t mistake this unit for a simple, no frills WIFI sprinkler controller because it gets the job done. You’ll love the complex features found within and can brag to all your friends that your sprinkler system is SWAT-approved. It’s also weather-resistant so you can install it anywhere.
To get started, you’ll download the Rachio app or use the web interface to customize the system. It will let you know the water consumption and even detect leaks for you so you can get your sprinkler system repaired before major problems occur.
You can easily schedule when you want your sprinkler system to run so you don’t have to remember to turn it on again. Rachio allows for a Fixed Interval Schedule that lets you use odd or even days, intervals of up to 21 days, and even run the system daily.
And zone, oh they’ve taken care of the zones! You can control up to sixteen. You’ll be able to go zone-by-zone, changing the programming and making any necessary adjustments for the type of soil, amount of sunlight, and type of plants found in that area. Need more water on your lawn but less on your flowers? No problem, Rachio makes it super easy.
You can even turn zones on and off individually if you notice you have plants or grass that’s getting too much or too little water.
Rachio’s Weather Adjustment Capability
The Weather Intelligence in the Rachio uses real-time reports on the weather to make adjustments in your sprinkler system’s schedule so you don’t have to remember to turn it off because you’re expecting afternoon rain. Rachio accesses the weather report every hour so it will always be accurate, unlike some systems that use it once a day.
You can also set your own thresholds to make sure you aren’t over-watering. A common setting is telling the system not to run if the temperature is 38 degrees or below or if it has rained at least one-eighth of an inch.
Rachio Generation 2 has support for popular rain sensors such as Orbit, RAIN BIRD WR2, and Hunter Rain-Clik. With this built-in feature, you won’t have to worry about overwatering if the weather report steers your system wrong.
You can use your Rachio with Amazon Echo, Nest, Control4, Wink, and Google Assistant. It also supports IFTTT (If This Then That) to make your system even smarter and more efficient.
The Rachio system is awesome and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with its performance overall. However, there are a couple of things you should be aware of when making your decision.
First, you can’t run multiple zones at once with your remote icon. This is a minor annoyance since you can manually run a combination of zones or even a single zone.
If you lose internet, you won’t be able to change the schedule, but your system’s EEPROM will ensure Rachio runs the latest schedule you programmed.
About the Skydrop Smart Sprinkler Controller
Skydrop’s Design and Ease of Use
Unlike the Rachio, the Skydrop has a beautiful appearance. It looks impressive and modern and draws the eye in. It has a LCD screen and large, well-lit knob that makes using it easy.
Getting started with the Skydrop is easy, too. The setup method is similar to the Rachio and you can use a Skydrop app or web interface to control your irrigation system.
The Skydrop will ask you some questions about your location and your yard and then automatically recommend a watering plan for you to use. This is an easy, flawless way to use your Skydrop and make sure you lawn isn’t water too much. You can also set your own schedule if you prefer more customization.
The Skydrop has zone-by-zone programming so you can set how much water each area needs, when, and how often. The system allows for eight zones, but you can upgrade to allow for sixteen total.
Skydrop Weather Adjustment Capability
Skydrop connects with the local weather reports well and you can easily check what Skydrop is seeing on the app. You won’t have to worry about remembering to adjust your schedule based on the weather.
Skydrop integreats with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. Any platforms that connect to IFTTT, like the Phillips Hue, can be integrated with Skydrop to allow for more controls and customizations.
The mobile app for Skypdrop is known to be buggy and the stats take some time to regenerate after a watering has occurred. Users report other various problems with the app, but its something you’ll have to try out for yourself to see what you experience. The developers constantly update and improve the app to address bug fixes, so this should be considered a minor annoyance.
Some users have trouble integrating Skydrop with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT alerts, which may be a deal breaker for you.
The LCD screen seems to be too cheaply made for the price of the unit and you’ll need to have an outdoor enclosure over it if you want to install the controller outdoors.
Rachio vs. Skydrop Smart Sprinkler Controllers: The Verdict
When trying to choose the best WIFI sprinkler controller between Rachio vs. Skydrop, the decision may be hard for some.
Both the Rachio and the Skydrop are nice smart sprinkler controllers. Each WIFI sprinkler controller has many features that make it an attractive choice, with each having some cons that may deter users.
With the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, you get more zones and more integration along with a very stable, well-performing app. But you’re also getting a unit that’s not very attractive.
With the Skydrop, you get an attractive unit and an easy-to-use setup that can select a watering schedule for you based on the information you give it. But you also get a less reliable app and a unit that’s not weather resistant.
You have to decide which unit works best for your needs and preferences. If you need more input or hands-on help from a local irrigation contractor, we’re here to help you install your new WIFI sprinkler controller and set it up to run flawlessly. Give us a call today.