Iro smart controller seeks to simplify your home sprinkler setup

/ Updated: April 30, 2014 9:57 AM PDT

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Rachio's Iro smart sprinkler controller Rachio

Spring is here, homeowners, and that means that it's time to start thinking about your yard again. Lucky for you, lawn care startup Rachio wants to help. Its Iro smart sprinkler controller is designed to simplify scheduling and save you money.

Iro connects to your home Wi-Fi and can be controlled from anywhere via smartphone app. Prices start at $249 for an 8-zone controller and go up to $299 for a 16-zone controller. It looks a little like the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector -- definitely an improvement on current sprinkler controller design.

Iro says that setup can be completed in just three steps. Remove your existing irrigation controller, install Iro in its place, and download the Iro app on your Android or iOS device. Not only will it schedule like your old system, it will also use Wi-Fi to monitor local weather and adjust itself accordingly. A 100 percent chance of rain? Iro won't let your sprinklers run. The idea is that you will save money without having to spend as much time tracking the forecast. What a beautiful thought.

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The Iro app Rachio

Iro will even send you reports detailing your monthly water usage. And if you lose your Wi-Fi connection for any reason, Iro will notify you that it has lost its signal and continue to operate using the last schedule you programmed. It isn't equipped with a backup battery, though, so it won't work during a power outage. Iro units are available for pre-order now, and the first shipment is expected to go out in early May.

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Where to Buy

Rachio Iro

Part Number: CNETRachio Iro

MSRP: $249.00

See manufacturer website for availability.