Blossom's lowering the barrier to entry for a smart sprinkler setup. Starting today, you can preorder the Blossom 8 Smart Watering Controller for $100. It'll be widely available in May for $130, a significant price cut from the original Blossom's $180 price and well below the $250 cost of its main competitors -- Rachio and GreenIQ.

Blossom's working on expanding overseas, but the Blossom 8 will be a US-only product for now. The $130 price converts to approximately £90 and AU$170.

Blossom designed its original Smart Watering Controller around all-encompassing accessibility. This new model trims a lot of those extras off for the sake of affordability. The original was weatherproof, featured Power-line in addition to Wi-Fi in case your controller was far from your router, and covered 12 zones. The Blossom 8 fittingly covers eight zones, is Wi-Fi only, and has a slim, low-profile design that needs to be kept indoors since it lacks the same resistance to the elements.


If you need any of those more robust features, the $180 Blossom will still be available, so the company's logic with this new model works well. If you don't need those options, you can pay less to cut them. The inner workings and smarts of the two devices remain the same.

Purchase either Blossom Controller and it'll act as a retrofit hub for your existing in-ground irrigation system. Download the free iOS or Android app, and you can manage your watering schedule on the go. Blossom will also monitor the weather, and will make adjustments to the schedule accordingly, so you'll never accidentally run your sprinklers after it rains.

It's the same basic premise behind Rachio and GreenIQ, and I'm a little disappointed that Blossom's newest didn't take steps to match its competitors in terms of interoperability. GreenIQ has direct integrations with a couple of plant sensors. Rachio works with a number of smart home platforms like Wink and Nest, and both Rachio and GreenIQ work with online rule maker IFTTT, allowing a range of options for a wider smart-home integration.

Blossom's logic here -- to keep things simple -- doesn't impress me, as not allowing the option for interoperability isn't the same as making the controller easy to use. Neither Rachio nor GreenIQ force you to use their smart home integrations, but you have them if you want them.

However, Blossom 8 enhances the advantage of its predecessor -- the price -- so anyone interested in dipping their toe into smart gardening for the first time might be most tempted by a standalone device priced competitively with non-connected options.