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Rachio 3 uses hyperlocal weather to run your sprinklers

The third-generation smart sprinkler can use an add-on to detect leaks and sports more localized weather info.

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Rachio

Rachio's 2nd Generation Smart Sprinkler was already pretty great. It could watch the weather and adapt your sprinkler schedule for you. Thankfully, Rachio is not resting on its laurels. The smart sprinkler company is introducing its third generation model on Tuesday. While not radically different from what came before, the Rachio 3 will offer more refined weather awareness and compatibility with a new Flow meter.

Like the previous generation, Rachio 3 replaces the controller for your in-ground sprinklers. You can preorder the sprinkler now on the company's site for a discount. At retail, the Rachio 3 will cost $230 for an eight-zone model and $280 for 16 zones. That's a $30 bump over the price of the Rachio 2.

The Flow meter is also brand new to Rachio's lineup. You can preorder that on the company's site as well for $100. You'll need a Rachio 3 controller to connect to it, and you can buy them packaged together for $330 for eight zones and $380 for 16. Rachio's promising highly accurate water flow readings. Better yet, the Flow meter will be able to detect leaks and shut down the water supply if it spots one. Both the Flow meter and Rachio 3 will start shipping out in April.

With the Flow meter, the Rachio 3 will know exactly how much water your yard is getting given the water pressure of your home. Rachio's new Weather Intelligence Plus will also help make this smart sprinkler even more accurate. Launching as a feature of the Rachio 3, Weather Intelligence Plus accumulates weather info from satellites, radar readings and weather stations in your area.

Rachio and other competitors have long promised to customize your watering schedule based on local weather. With this new information, Rachio's promising hyperlocal weather info specific to within 36 feet of your controller.

I'm unconvinced that much refinement will make much of a tangible difference. The Flow meter sounds like a great addition, but Rachio's Gen 2 controller was already more expensive than the highly competent $100 Orbit B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler.

The Rachio 3 will also offer onboard controls missing from Gen 2 and dual band Wi-Fi. All together, Rachio's adding a lot of quality of life upgrades to an already great smart sprinkler. My only hesitation is the price. We'll put Rachio 3 to the test soon to see if it's worth it.

Updated April 25, 2018 with new pricing for the Rachio 3.

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