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Blossom Smart Watering Controller review: Blossom's smart sprinkler gets lost among its competition

Blossom gets all of the basics right, and it'd be a big improvement if you're still using an old fashioned sprinkler timer, but we still don't recommend it.

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Andrew Gebhart
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Andrew Gebhart

Senior Producer

Andrew loves writing about cool, futuristic technology. He's reviewed everything from vacuum cleaners to beer brewing robots in pursuit of the perfect smart home. He wants the smart home to make him feel powerful, and it's getting there.

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6 min read

The Blossom Smart Watering Controller is one of the best products I've ever tested that I don't recommend to anyone. If it was unique, I'd love it, as it competently provides a truly useful service. Blossom replaces your existing sprinkler controller and lets you control your sprinklers with your phone via the Blossom app. Better yet, Blossom monitors the weather and helps you schedule your sprinklers to avoid running them when it rains.

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6.7

Blossom Smart Watering Controller

The Good

Blossom's easy-to-use app helps you set a schedule for your sprinklers. Blossom watches the weather and adapts the schedule accordingly so you're not running your sprinklers in the rain.

The Bad

Blossom gets the smart sprinkler basics right but lacks the detailed customization of its competitors. It's not weatherproof, it doesn't have onboard controls, and it doesn't work with many other smart-home gadgets.

The Bottom Line

Whether you're looking for the best smart sprinkler or you're looking for a bargain, you can find a better option than the Blossom Smart Watering Controller.

If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, I recommend investing in a smart sprinkler controller as it'll not only make your life easier, but it could also save you money over time by helping you conserve water. Even though it works well enough, I can't recommend the $150 Blossom Smart Watering Controller as you have better options. Both the $200 Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller and the $100 Orbit B-Hyve offer more advanced smarts and scheduling options than Blossom.

The Blossom Sprinkler wants to help your garden bloom

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The many faces of Blossom

Blossom is hard to recommend mainly because it gets caught in the middle ground between the most budget-friendly smart sprinkler (B-Hyve) and the smartest (Rachio). Like the competition, Blossom connects to your home Wi-Fi network and works with the EPA WaterSense rebate program. If you're interested in a smart sprinkler, head here to see if you qualify for a rebate.

Unlike the competition, Blossom doesn't have anything that helps it stands out from an increasingly competitive smart sprinkler field. B-Hyve is appealing because of its price, and it has a great app that balances depth of options with ease of use. Rachio has a similarly great app and has the most scheduling flexibility of the field. It also works with the most other smart-home platforms so you can tie your sprinklers into your larger smart-home setup.

Cool off your garden with these smart sprinklers

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Blossom lets you schedule your sprinklers in relation to sunset or sunrise. Otherwise, it does what you'd expect and nothing more. That wasn't always the case. Blossom was one of the first smart sprinklers to hit the market, and it was initially priced and designed to compete directly with Rachio.

The original Blossom was $180 for 12 zones of control to undercut Rachio's $200 for eight or $250 for 16 zone system. Blossom was waterproof and Rachio wasn't. Blossom also supplemented Wi-Fi with power line networking. Essentially, if your sprinkler controller was located in a spot with a bad signal, Blossom could communicate with your router using the wiring in your home.

The startup behind the sprinkler controller -- also called Blossom -- later announced a cheaper model called the Blossom 8, which it offered in addition to the original as a $130 alternative if you didn't need power line communication or waterproofing.

Now, the original Blossom is no longer available. The Blossom 8 was redubbed the Blossom 7 (to reflect that you need to use a different type of connection for the eighth zone), then just Blossom again. The price has gone up to $150. It doesn't have power line networking and it's not waterproof. Ironically, Rachio now offers a waterproof case. Plus, Blossom isn't just competing with Rachio anymore, and the cheaper $100 B-Hyve includes a waterproof case as well.

Get gardening with Blossom

Blossom still does plenty of things well. $150 isn't an unreasonable price, and if you can find it on sale, it's worth your consideration. You can buy Blossom on the company's site, or head to Amazon to look for a deal. Right now, it's only available in the US.

Installing Blossom is pretty easy -- you need to attach a wire for each of your zones and plug it in. If you can install a thermostat, you can install Blossom. You'll use the app to create an account and connect the controller to your Wi-Fi network, then the app walks you through the rest and sets up your zones.

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Attach the wires for your zones to get Blossom up and running. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You determine the schedule -- you can water on fixed days of the week, after an interval of days, or on odd or even days. You also tell Blossom what time you'd like watering to start on the days you choose. In addition to setting a specific time, you have the option to set your start time in relation to sunrise or sunset (so you can start your sprinklers an hour before sunrise, and Blossom will adapt the time each day based on when the sun will rise in your area).

Finally, you can decide how long you'd like your sprinklers to run each time, or you can turn on the sprinkler's smarts. If you pick the latter, you'll want to tell Blossom about each zone you're watering -- it asks you for the type of plant in the zone, the type of sprinkler you use, and whether the zone gets rainfall.

With smart scheduling, Blossom will determine how long to run the sprinklers based on your schedule and yard info, and it'll adapt your schedule based on local weather forecasts. You can turn push notifications on in the settings, too, so you'll know if Blossom is cancelling a watering session.

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Use the app to answer questions about each zone, then set a schedule. 

Screenshots by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

After you get your schedule set, you can also run the sprinkler manually if you want to add extra watering. The app makes it easy to hit a button and run a zone. You can also start your sprinklers with a voice command through Amazon's digital assistant Alexa or the Google Assistant.

Link your Blossom account to either your Alexa or Google account, then you can give a command to the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, respectively, to start or stop the sprinklers. You can't check the watering schedule or do anything advanced with your voice, but the basic voice controls worked well with both Amazon and Google.

What it's missing

Between its weather monitoring, its easy-to-use app and its compatibility with Alexa and the Google Assistant, Blossom gets enough of the basics right to be a good smart sprinkler. It's just lacking some of the extras and depth that make Rachio and B-Hyve great.

Unlike Rachio and B-Hyve, Blossom doesn't offer a fully smart schedule. You always need to tell Blossom what days you want to water, and it'll just use its weather info to skip days accordingly. Rachio and B-Hyve go one step beyond that, and offer a schedule option where they'll water only when your yard needs it.

Blossom also lacks middle ground. You can't set your own ideal watering duration and turn on weather monitoring smarts. B-Hyve doesn't have a middle ground between smart and dumb scheduling either, but Rachio has several options that mix your input with its smarts.

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Blossom's smart options, calendar, and watering history could all use more depth. 

Screenshots by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

With Blossom, you have to turn on WaterSense as a mode in the settings. Rachio and B-Hyve just automatically comply with WaterSense regulations. Flip it on, and WaterSense mode will also ask you for soil type, slope and amount of shade for each zone and determine appropriate run times for you.

I don't know why WaterSense isn't turned on by default. Rachio and B-Hyve just fill in standard options for the extra questions if you don't provide the info. Rachio and B-Hyve also have a host of advanced settings that you can fine tune if you're an expert, and they allow you to attach rain and moisture sensors to your system so they can both know exactly when to water.

Both Rachio and B-Hyve have onboard controls, but Blossom doesn't. And Rachio and B-Hyve also have detailed calendars in their app that show watering and weather schedules. Blossom has a basic calendar showing your schedule, and a simple history showing when it has skipped watering, but no watering history, no detailed calendar with weather and watering info, and no water usage tracking.

B-Hyve's Alexa skill offers a lot of extra commands, and Rachio lets you pick your weather station for forecasts, and also works with a bunch of other smart home products such as Nest, IFTTT, Wink and SmartThings.

The verdict

The Blossom Smart Watering Controller isn't a bad product or a broken product. It works, and if you still have an ordinary timer for your in-ground sprinklers, the $150 seven-zone Blossom would be a significant upgrade. I don't recommend it simply because it doesn't have an edge on the competition.

If price isn't an issue, go with the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller -- it's the smartest of the bunch and worth springing for, especially if you have other smart-home gear. If you do want a controller and want the most smarts for your money, go with the Orbit B-Hyve. Without a unique feature to call its own, Blossom wouldn't be my top choice for anyone, but it'll get the job done if you find it on sale.

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6.7

Blossom Smart Watering Controller

Score Breakdown

Features 6Usability 7Design 7Performance 7