Rachio Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 vs. 3e — Brief & Full Overview

Here’s our brief, straight-forward comparison between Rachio Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 vs. 3e. If you have more questions about the products feel free to ask them in the comments section below. We’ll be more than happy to help you make the right choice for your home. 

Without further ado let’s jump straight into the chart.

Rachio Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 vs. 3e — Comparison Chart

Rachio Gen 1Rachio Gen 2Rachio Gen 3Rachio Gen 3e
8-zone modelYesYesYesYes
16-zone modelYesYesYesNo
Manual ControlNoIn-unitOn-unitOn-unit
Rain SensorSupportedSupportedSupportedSupported
Soil SensorSupportedSupportedSupportedSupported
Wired Flow SensorsNoSupportedSupportedSupported
Wireless Flow MeterNoNoSupportedNo
Master Valve“M” terminal slot“M” terminal slot“M” terminal slot“M” terminal slot
Flex DailyNoYesYesNo
Weather IntelligenceStandardStandardAdvancedStandard
Yard MapNoNoYesNo
Wi-Fi Connection2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n2.4 or 5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n2.4 or 5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n
AppiOS 10.3+ and Android 4.4+iOS 10.3+ and Android 4.4+iOS 10.3+ and Android 4.4+iOS 10.3+ and Android 4.4+
Cloud SyncYesYesYesYes
Local ConnectNoNoNoNo
Amazon AlexaYesYesYesYes
Google AssistantYesYesYesYes
HomeKitNoNoYesNo
SmartThingsYesYesYesYes
WinkYesYesYesYes
NestYesYesYesYes
IFTTTYesYesYesYes
Future premium software featuresNoNoYesNo
Temperature Range-4°F to 140°F-4°F to 140°F-4°F to 140°F-4°F to 140°F
Indoor UseYesYesYesYes
Outdoor UseWith EnclosureWith EnclosureWith EnclosureWith Enclosure
Dimensions7.25″ x 7.25″ x 2.165″9.25″ L x 5.625″ H x 1.625″ W9.1″ x 5.5″ x 1.4″9.1″ x 5.5″ x 1.4″
Weight2.7 Lbs.1.2 Lbs.1.05 Lbs.1.05 Lbs
Warranty2 years2 years2 years2 years
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 16 Zone 1st Generation, Works with Alexa
Sale Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller, 8-Zone 2nd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip (8ZULW-B)
Sale Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, 8 Zone 3rd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus and Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
Sale Rachio 8ZULWC-L R3e Generation: Smart, 8 Zone Sprinkler Controller, Works with Alexa, Gen, Gray

Key Generation Differences Between Rachio Controllers

Rachio 2 - Extra - 01

Zones – Almost all Rachio controllers support 8 and 16 zone control except for the Rachio 3e which only supports an 8-zone control

Manual Control – In case you don’t have your phone on you, it’s nice to be able to make basic adjustments to the preset watering schedule right from the unit. Fortunately almost all Rachio models provide manual control, except for the Rachio Gen 1 which requires access to the Rachio app to be controlled.

It’s worth noting that Rachio Gen 2 has run, pause, and skip buttons under the front panel which makes it as uncomfortable as it sounds like. Whereas the Rachio 3 and 3e have run, pause, and skip buttons right on the main panel.

Wired Flow Sensors – With flow sensors you can check your sprinkler’s actual water consumption in gallons. It’s a useful accessory to help you monitor the actual flow of water running through pipes. Unfortunately, Rachio Gen 1 doesn’t support wired flow sensors. However, all other Rachio controllers, Gen 2, Gen 3, and 3e do support them.

Wireless Flow Meter – This feature is exclusive for the Rachio Gen 3 only. The wireless flow meter will detect leak and blockage to notify you as soon as possible. Moreover, it’ll instantly shut off zones where leaks are detected. 

Flex Daily – Rachio offers three types of watering schedules: Fixed, Flex Monthly, and Flex Daily.

Flex Daily is only available for the Rachio Gen 2 and Gen 3. With Flex Daily, your Rachio controller will be checking for hyperlocal weather forecasts, moisture levels, and individual zone characteristics daily to determine the best watering for each zone in particular. This is a super customized feature that will make sure your plants will get enough water to be green and happy. 

Weather Intelligence – All Rachio sprinklers support weather intelligence, to a certain degree. Rachio Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3e feature standard intelligence, whereas the Gen 3 model comes with advanced technology. 

The difference between standard weather intelligence and advanced one is the Self-Healing function. With the standard version, you’ll have a selected weather station which Rachio will use to set up watering schedules. The advanced version, on the other hand, has this self-healing function which will switch to the closest reporting station in case your standard weather station stops reporting data for three days or more. It’ll also send you an email to notify you about the change.

Yard Map – With the Yard Mao feature you can improve water usage reporting by customizing sprinkler heads and drawing your zone boundaries. 

The Yard feature is only available for a limited line of 12-zone controllers available only at Costco. It’s also available for Rachio 3 controllers that use the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter.

Other than that, the Rachio Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3e controllers do not support this feature.  

Wi-Fi Connection – Rachio Gen 1 and Gen 2 run on 2.4Ghz, whereas the Gen 3 and 3e can use either 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. The 2.4Ghz offers longer range but slower speeds while the 5Ghz provides less coverage but it’s way faster at transmitting data. Also, the more devices you have on the 2.4Ghz network, the lower the speed is.

So if you already have a lot of devices on your 2.4Ghz network, then Rachio Gen 3 and 3e are the way to go. Just make sure your router supports 5Ghz.

If you feel like it’s time to upgrade your router too, check out our Smart Routers section.

HomeKit – The only Rachio controller that supports HomeKit is the Gen 3 model. So, if you use HomeKit and control your smart tech via Home app and Siri, then it goes without saying that Rachio Gen 3 is for you.

It’s important to note that all Rachio controllers support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So they all offer smart voice control, it’s just Siri is unique to Rachio Gen 3 only.

Future premium software features – As you can tell, out of all four models the Gen 3 is the most advanced, thus it has support for future premium software features. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3e models.


Which Rachio Controller is Perfect For My House?

Rachio Gen 3
Rachio Gen 1 is perfect for you if…

you want something super basic but yet smart. Just don’t expect it to be super accurate like Rachio Gen 3. 

Rachio Gen 2 is perfect for you if…

you like to have manual control besides app control, if you’re planning to add wired flow sensors, and if you plan on using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Rachio Gen 2 is the perfect middle option, not too smart but gets the job done well and allows for accessories.

Rachio Gen 3 is perfect for you if…

you want a total control of your front/back yard, all the stats and reports, even from wireless flow meters, and a super customizable daily schedule. Not to mention, Rachio Gen 3 is the only Rachio controller that supports HomeKit, so it’s a no-brainer for Apple fans.

Rachio Gen 3e is perfect for you if…

you have a medium-sized lawn (8-zones max) and want a simple yet efficient controller. 

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 16 Zone 1st Generation, Works with Alexa
Sale Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller, 8-Zone 2nd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip (8ZULW-B)
Sale Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, 8 Zone 3rd Generation, Alexa and Apple HomeKit Compatible with Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence Plus and Rain, Freeze and Wind Skip
Sale Rachio 8ZULWC-L R3e Generation: Smart, 8 Zone Sprinkler Controller, Works with Alexa, Gen, Gray

For more information about differences and similarities between the Rachio models, check out our detailed reviews:

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 14:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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