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This Prime Day Smart Home Gadget Deal Is a Game-Changer for Suburbanites

The Rachio 3 sprinkler controller is close to an all-time low price.

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone
2 min read
Rachio/Screenshot by CNET

Let me cut to the chase: If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, do yourself a favor and get the Rachio 3 Sprinkler Controller. It's currently on sale for Prime Big Deal Days starting at $116 -- that's 22% off, which is within $10 of the all-time low. (I paid a bit more when I bought mine during Prime Day 2022.)

Here's the backstory on why I love this thing so much. My recent move out to the suburbs meant inheriting an in-ground sprinkler system, which was great -- except for the ancient controller to which it was connected. Despite religiously following the instruction manual and "programming" it through a variety of tiny buttons -- not unlike a vintage 1980s VCR -- the thing would still fire the sprinkler heads at completely random times. I couldn't figure it out -- the clock was correct, the watering times were correct, but the actual sprinklers would turn on three or four hours later. I was resigned to running it manually during the day and losing some of the water to the sun's evaporation.

Enter the Rachio 3. I've had it for two suburban summers so far, and it's far and away the best smart home experience I've had in years. It took less than an hour to install -- connecting to all the wiring of the previous controller -- but oh, what a difference. Instead of punching an endless series of buttons and knobs, I now just use the Rachio app on my phone or iPad. The sprinklers now correctly run in the predawn hours, and the system even uses local weather reports to suggest skipping sessions on those days when it's recently rained. (It's compatible with hardwired water sensors too.) If and when I want to change the schedule or do a manual run, I just whip out my phone and touch the screen. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, if you want to go the voice-control route. 

The Rachio 3 comes in three versions: four-zone, eight-zone and 16-zone. All three are currently discounted for Prime Big Deal Days. There's no subscription to worry about either -- just make sure the installation site has Wi-Fi coverage. But if you have an integrated sprinkler system, this is an easy recommendation. Need a second opinion? My former CNET colleague Jared DiPane loves his too. 

This story was published earlier and has been updated with the latest pricing for Prime Big Deal Days 2023.