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Smart Home

The RainMachine Pro-8 smart sprinkler-system controller: $139 (save $40)

Cheapskate exclusive! This eight-zone Wi-Fi touchscreen controller pulls weather data from the NOAA. Plus: Add 32GB to your iPhone or iPad for $8.49.

rainmachine-pro-8
RainMachine

If you're fortunate enough to own a home with a lawn and sprinkler system, I cannot recommend today's deal highly enough. When I think of the time spent programming clunky timers and the water wasted when the sprinklers ran during rainstorms, I want to smack myself for not making the switch sooner.

You've probably heard of Rachio's smart sprinkler controllers, arguably the best-known products in the category. But I just installed a competitor I think is superior for a couple reasons -- starting with price.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg has the RainMachine Pro-8 smart irrigation controller for $139. That's after applying promo code NEWEGGRM8. (Note that you must be signed into your Newegg account to use that code.) It's already on sale at $179, which is $10 less than Amazon's price. And the current-gen Rachio runs about $230.

I have no firsthand experience with the Rachio, but here's the other reason I prefer the RainMachine: It has a small touchscreen interface. The Rachio has no screen at all, just limited analog controls. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a sprinkler controller I can operate without having to go fetch my phone.

I can also attest to how crazy-easy the RainMachine is to install. I disconnected the wires from my old controller, fed them into the new one, plugged in the power and bam, done. The app setup was a breeze as well, though I did find the actual zone-programming part confusing at first.

But now that everything is all configured, I haven't touched the RainMachine once. It waters when it's supposed to water and monitors NOAA weather reports to determine when not to water (based on rain, natch).

Before you buy this or any other smart sprinkler controller, however, make sure there's a decent Wi-Fi signal in your garage, or wherever the controller will live. You should also investigate whether you qualify for an EPA rebate, which can help defray the cost.

Ultimately, what you want from one of these gizmos is to set it and forget it. That's been my experience with the RainMachine Pro-8 thus far, and I'm liking it at this price.

Your thoughts?

Now playing: Watch this: 3 reasons to upgrade to a smart sprinkler system
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Bonus deal: Add 32GB of external storage to your iPhone or iPad for $8.49

olala-id300

Dual-drive goodness: $8.50 for the 32GB version, $11 for 64GB.

Olala

No more room at the iDevice inn? That's a hassle, especially if running out of storage means you can no longer shoot photos or video. One temporary solution: Offload some existing stuff to external storage.

iPhone flash drives typically sell in the $30-$40 range, which makes this all the more amazing: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the Olala ID300 32GB Lightning/USB.30 Flash Drive is just $8.49 when you click the on-page 5% off coupon and apply promo code 10LALA70 at checkout. Or get the 64GB model for just $10.99 with the same code.

The flip side of a drive like this is that you can stock it with, say, MP3s or videos copied from your PC, then plug into your iPhone or iPad for listening and viewing.

It's not ideal for everything -- you can't use it for any DRM-protected media, like movies purchased from iTunes -- but these prices are on par with what you'd pay for a standard USB 3.0 flash drive, one without an MFi-certified Lightning connector on the other end.


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