Rachio 3 vs. Rachio Smart Hose Timer


Rachio is one of the leading brands when it comes to smart home devices for your lawn. In particular, the company manages popular sprinklers and timers – including the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller and Rachio Smart Hose Timer.

All of these products are at the top of their class and make it easy to keep your lawn green without much effort. However, the two irrigation systems are very different. Here’s a closer look at the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller and the affordable Rachio Smart Hose Timer to help you decide which is best for your backyard.



The Smart Hose Timer costs $70, although it requires a Wi-Fi Hub (which can be included for a total of $100). The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller is available in three models depending on the size of your yard:

  • 4-Zone: $150
  • 8-Zone: $200
  • 16-Zone: $250

You also have the option of purchasing a weatherproof enclosure for $30 if you are upgrading the controller outside.

Winner: Rachio Smart Hose Timer


Rachio Smart Hose Timer installed on outdoor spigot.

If you have a water spigot, the Rachio Smart Hose Timer is compatible with your installation. You also need a Wi-Fi Hub and a 2.4GHz network. Installing the Smart Hose Timer is easy – just install the smartphone app, connect the Smart Hose Timer to your spigot, sync with the Wi-Fi hub and your 2.4GHz network, and you’re done.

Installing the Rachio 3 is very difficult, although it should not take 30 minutes. It is required, however, that you have an older controller already installed, because it will replace the existing system. There is a bright side, however, Rachio is partnering with Taskrabbit to help you install your system professionally if you don’t want to redo your installation.

Of course, you’ll also need a sprinkler system, as the Rachio 3 acts as the brains of the operation.

Winner: Build it

Features and specifications

Both the Rachio Smart Hose Timer and the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller do a great job of adjusting your watering schedule, but they do it in different ways.

The Smart Hose Timer is exactly what it sounds like – a smart timer that controls when your spigot is turned on and off. This means that many single-family homes can use this device. Once connected to the outlet, they can run a hose with whatever sprinkler heads they want and let the Smart Hose Timer turn on the water to follow a schedule you can change.

Using the smartphone app, you can set your watering schedule and track your usage history. This device also works with any outdoor faucet and automatically skips the watering phase if rain is detected.

The Rachio 3, for now, is only compatible with floor sprinklers. However, this means that it has a lot of flexibility in its performance. Not only can you set your own watering schedule, but the Rachio 3 will adjust its watering pattern based on rain, wind, and other environmental factors. It can also adjust its irrigation from zone to zone, giving you incredible control over how your yard is maintained.

Rachio 3 supports SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT for additional options.

Winner: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Applications and subscriptions

The Rachio Smart Hose Timer and Rachio 3 both use the Rachio smartphone app, which is easy to use and gives you more options. Furthermore, no monthly subscription is required for any product. This means you will have access to everything they have to offer without the need to pay over and over again.

Winner: Build it

What is good?

If you already have a sprinkler system, the Rachio 3 is the obvious choice. It’s more expensive than the Smart Hose Timer, but its ability to adjust its operation in different environments and smart home connectivity make it a better option.

For homes without a sprinkler system, the Smart Hose Timer is a solid alternative. It brings a little “smartness” to your water faucet, allowing you to water your household chores without too much trouble. All of these products are guaranteed to help you conserve water as well – which can lead to lower water bills at the end of the month.

Editor’s Note


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