Rachio 2 vs 3 – Is a smart sprinkler controller worth it?

Rachio 2 vs 3 – Which Do You think is the Best Sprinkler For Your Lawn? Every lawn-owner knows what a struggle it is to keep their lawns looking green and fresh. A good looking lawn requires a lot of effort. Without proper care, and regular watering, the grass withers, and you are left with a dried-up patch of despair where your lawn used to be. We can have every intention of putting in the work with our lawns, but sometimes, life gets in the way and we have no time or are too tired, to properly water our lawns.

Rachio 2 vs 3

It is for this reason that people now opt for smart water sprinkler controllers. They help you control your water sprinklers, and their automated nature and efficient working can help ease the task for you. There are plenty of options in the market to choose from, and Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller is a popular one. Rachio, based out of California, is a company that produces products related to lawn maintenance.

They have several variants of smart sprinkler controllers available, and right now, potential users keep wondering about the pros of Rachio Gen 2 vs Gen 3. In order to help you with your decision, we are going to look deeper into both controllers and deliver our final verdict.

Why use Smart Water Sprinkler Controllers?

Those who are used to electronic timers or mechanical sprinkler systems can feel a little apprehensive about switching to a smart controller. But we recommended switching because smart controllers have quite a  few advantages.

Controlled Remotely by App – Since smart controllers are connected devices, they can be controlled via an app or digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.

Weather-Based – Smart sprinkler controllers usually monitor the weather, so they are aware when it is raining and your lawn does not require water. Some of them can be switched on/off remotely via their app.

Automated – With smart sprinkler controllers, you don’t have to worry about watering too much or too little. Most smart sprinklers take in information about the weather, your schedule, and even metrics such as how fast the water evaporates from the soil, to determine how much and how often your lawn needs to be watered.

Help Save Water – With all of the metrics they have access to, smart sprinkler controllers help save water by only watering your lawn when they need to be watered. The controllers that are certified by EPA’s WaterSense program can help you get a rebate on your utility bill as well.

If you’re in the market for a smart sprinkler controller, Rachio’s offerings might interest you. They have a 2nd generation controller and a 3rd generation controller. If you are looking for an overview, the difference between Rachio 2 and 3 and what would suit your needs better – Rachio 2 vs 3 – keep on reading!

Rachio 2 vs 3

Rachio 2 and 3 are both Smart Water Sprinkler Controller offerings by Rachio, Rachio 2 is the second generation controller while Rachio 3 is the 3rd generation controller. They are both smart sprinklers that use wifi and can be controlled via their app. They also come with manual buttons in case you are having any trouble with your connectivity.

Both controllers use sensors to determine when your lawn needs to be watered. They also use weather updates as a metric to determine when the sprinklers need to be turned on to water the lawn.

While both offer an array of features, the perfect smart controller for you really depends on what your needs are. So let us go over what both the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controllers have to offer.

Rachio 2nd Generation

Rachio 2nd Generation

The Rachio 2nd generation is a smart sprinkler controller that is widely available and highly favored by its users. It comes in several versions and offers plenty of features that make it easy to use.


Rachio 2 is somewhat compact when it comes to its design. Its dimensions are 5.5 inches (height) by 9.25 inches (width) by 1.5 inches (depth) and its weight is about 2.5 pounds. Rachio 2 runs on two AA batteries. It comes with a white cover that can be removed. It has a status indicator with LED lights that help with setting up the controller and also display whether a watering zone is active or not. It also comes with manual buttons in case there are some issues with the wifi.

The app that controls it uses an intuitive interface that offers all relevant information. It displays the controller’s status, weather updates, the time the sprinkler was last used, and the schedule it follows. It also allows you to change the schedule.


Multiple Versions Available: Rachio 2nd generation comes in multiple versions – for 16 zones and 8 zones.

Option for Manual Control: Rachio 2 has an option for manual control, which means it will work even if there are connectivity issues.

Easy to Install: The installation is fairly easy, and all you’ll need to do is follow the instruction manual that comes with it.

Wired Flow Sensors Supported: It supports wired flow sensors that help determine the flow of water into the sprinklers.

Uses Weather Intelligence: Rachio 2 takes the local weather into account when determining whether your lawn needs watering, and how much water is needed. This helps avoid the wastage of water as well as the over-watering of your lawn.


Lack of Wireless Flow Sensor Support: While Rachio 2 works with wired flow sensors, it does not support wireless ones. This lack of support can be a dealbreaker for some.

Some Versions are Incompatible with Apple’s HomeKit: While the previous iterations of Rachio 2 did not support Apple’s Homekit, the newer versions come with full support. If you are looking for a model that is compatible with Homekit, it is important that you check the version and specs before buying.


Currently, Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller, 2nd Generation, is a very popular and highly rated smart sprinkler controller. The reviews speak stellarly of the product and scores highly on its features and usability, with the following ratings out of 5:

  • Easy to use: 4.84
  • Easy to install: 4.74
  • Smart Features: 4.64
  • User interface: 4.64
  • WiFi signal: 4.64
  • Alexa integration: 4.44

Rachio 3rd Generation

Rachio 3rd Generation

Rachio’s 2nd generation was a huge success, and the 3rd generation adds even more features to the smart sprinkler controllers. Currently, it is the most popular offering from Rachio.


Rachio considers the 3rd generation of its water sprinkler controller to be its flagship. Its dimensions are 9.1 x 1.4 x 5.6 inches (height x depth x width), and it weighs 2.88 pounds. This makes the Rachio 3 a little smaller than the 2, but also a little heavier. The cover of Rachi 3 is similar to that of Rachio 2, the main difference being that Rachio 3’s cover is magnetic and can be removed easily.

The app is as intuitive as ever, and the 3rd generation supports 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.


Multiple Versions Available: There are multiple versions of the 3rd generation of Rachio sprinkler controllers, for 16-zone as well as for 8-zone. They have also launched a budget-friendly version of the 3rd generation, called the Rachio 3e.

Supports 5-GHz Wi-Fi: Unlike the 2nd generation which only supported 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi, Rachio 3 supports 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi as well as 5-GHz Wi-Fi.

Smaller Size: Rachio 3 is slightly more compact than Rachio 2.

Manual Controls Available: Similar to Rachio 2, Rachio 3 has manual controls in case there are problems with the connectivity.

Easy to Install: Rachio 3 is easily installable, and people who aren’t familiar with smart sprinklers can do so with ease.

Support Wireless Flow Sensors: Along with wired flow sensors, Rachio 3 also supports wireless flow sensors.

Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus: The weather intelligence that Rachio 3 uses is far more advanced than Rachio 2’s.


Costs More: Because it is the flagship smart sprinkler controller with a bunch of additional features, the 3rd generation Rachio controller costs more than the 2nd generation.

The 3e Version Lacks Features: Most of the advanced features are limited to Rachio 3. The budget-friendly version, Rachio 3e, lacks a number of features including no support for Apple Homekit, wireless flow sensors, and Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus.


Rachio 3 is currently the most popular smart sprinkler controller on Amazon. It holds the first rank when it comes to Automatic Irrigation Controllers. Its features and functions hold the following ratings on Amazon:

  • Easy to install: 4.74
  • Smart Features: 4.54
  • User interface: 4.54
  • WiFi signal: 4.54
  • Tech Support: 4.24
  • Alexa integration: 4.14

Rachio 3 vs 2, Final Verdict

Rachio 3 vs 2, Final Verdict

There are some key differences between Rachio 2 and 3. Since 3 is the flagship model, it offers more features and better weather intelligence software. Rachio 3 also supports wireless flow sensors and 5-GHz Wi-Fi. Needless to say, if Rachio 3 is within your budget, it would make a much better option. That said, if you do not need the additional features provided by Rachio 3, Rachio 2 is a pretty good option as well.