Rachio Gen 2 vs Gen 3

The world is looking for smarter solutions for things every day. So it does not come as a surprise that the sprinkler system you use can also be smart. The Rachio line of smart water sprinkler system for your lawns is exactly that. But as years pass, technology becomes better, so Rachio Gen 1 was superseded by Gen 2. And just like Gen 2 superseded Gen 1, Rachio released a Gen 3 to supersede Gen 2. But is it worth upgrading to the Gen 3? Let us have a comparison in this Rachio Gen 2 vs. 3 article to find out more.

Rachio 2 vs Rachio 3: Compared Side by Side

Rachio Gen 2

The Rachio Gen 2 succeeded the Gen 1 sprinkler system, which brought some huge upgrades and changes to the system. It was a big leap from the older Rachio Gen 1 which was small and did not have any manual controls on the body. It was also a tad bit heavier, and design-wise, it is very bulky. The Rachio Gen 2 looks way better and installation is way easier than Gen 1.


The Rachio Gen 2 is designed to look its part, a smart system that controls your sprinkler. It is a white box, comparatively smaller than manual controlled systems. It can be either installed indoors or inside a weatherproof enclosure outside. You have to buy the enclosure yourself though, so it does become a slightly unnecessary expense.

The cover on the top can be removed to access the manual controls and install the sprinkler zones. The only issue with the cover design is, it is tough and rigid and does not open with ease. You have to pull and jerk on it using strength, which is not a very good model.

Other than that one minor flaw, everything else seems pretty good. The Rachio logo on top is illuminated in blue, which complements the white box. Lastly, it can be easily wall-mounted without any troubles whatsoever.


When you unlid the Rachio Gen 2, you find the manual controls and the wire inserts. The manual controls are basic commands that you can give to the Rachio 2. The wire inserts require you to unscrew and insert the wire inside them and tighten the screws again. This does feel like a hassle but allows for the sprinkler wires to stay in their place for good.

It can be connected to WiFi using a 2.4GHz wireless connection. Which in turn can help you connect to your Rachio 2 with your smartphone. With the smartphone, you can control various functionalities on the Rachio 2 even if you are away from your home. This is a very useful feature when you are out of town with your family and want to maintain your garden.

The Rachio 2 connects with the local weather station to get weather updates using the internet connection. It then schedules the sprinkler systems to initiate based on the upcoming weather conditions. However, if the local weather station forecasts rain and it does not in your area, you will miss watering the grass that day.

It goes the other way around as well, if your local weather station does not forecast rain and it rains in your area, it will activate the sprinklers regardless, overwatering your lawn, wasting a lot of water in the process.


Rachio has a wireless flow sensor as well, but sadly it does not connect to the Rachio 2. This is a shame since it packs its own set of features that are truly appealing.

Though you can install a wired flow sensor, which helps you monitor the flow of water through it. You can calculate the water consumption and calculate the water bill that way. It does so by calculating the amount of water that is flowing through it and then puts it up on your phone app. You can monitor the water consumption on the Rachio smartphone application.

The Rachio 2 takes a step forward from Gen 1 and gives you the option of installing it outdoors. You can do so by getting a supported enclosure that helps it survive the harshest of weather without problems.


  • Standard Weather Intelligence
  • Wired Flow Sensor Compatibility
  • Can be Installed Outside (Enclosure Bought Separately)
  • Has Manual Controls Albeit Hard to Reach
  • Has Smartphone Support
  • WiFi Connection 2.4GHz


  • No Support for Wireless Flow Sensor
  • Does not Support WiFi 5GHz
  • Requires Struggle to Open Lid

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Rachio Gen 3

The Rachio Gen 2 succeeded the Gen 1 sprinkler system, which brought some huge upgrades and changes to the system. It was a big leap from the older Rachio Gen 1 which was small and did not have any manual controls on the body. It was also a tad bit heavier, and design-wise, it is very bulky. The Rachio Gen 2 looks way better and installation is way easier than Gen 1.


Rachio Gen 3 carries on the same overall design, using white. The notable difference in design has to be that the manual controls are outside compared to being inside like the Rachio 2. This can be really helpful as opening the lid to access the manual controls was a difficult task in Rachio 2. The lid was so rigid and tightly closed that it became a pain to open it to insert sprinkler wires and use manual controls. Although, once you do insert the wires, people often do not use the manual controls at all.

But regardless, it is a nice change, to have controls right on the outside for easy accessibility. The controls are on the Rachio logo, this time the logo is not illuminated like it was in Gen 2, which is also a design change. The cover inside is really easy to access, it opens without struggles whatsoever. The best part though, the wire inserts are push-activated.

This means, tool-free installation. Just push the button over the wire insert, slide the wire inside and release for the wire to get fixed inside. Which makes the installation of the Rachio 3 a much easier job than Rachio 2. Also, the Rachio 3 is lighter than the Rachio 2 as well when it comes to weight.


The Rachio 3 has almost all the features that Rachio 2 has. It includes being able to control it using manual controls, we already spoke about the wire inserts. It comes in two versions, just like the Rachio 2, 8 zones, and 16 zones. The zones control a sprinkler, and the 16 zones Rachio 3 can water a yard regardless of how big it is.

In addition to the easy accessibility and installation, Rachio 3 also has support for dual-band WiFi 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This gives it better connection speed, faster internet support. It connects to the phone app just like the Rachio 2, but you have some additional options in it given its added features.

The Rachio 2 was connected to a local weather station to check weather forecasts, which Rachio calls the Standard Weather Intelligence. Rachio 3, however, has Advanced Weather Intelligence, which lets it connect to multiple weather stations close by for a much more accurate forecast. So if it tells you that it might rain, then it is checking every possible nearest weather station to give you the best forecast.

This helps you save tons of water consumption, which might have been wasted if it rained even after the local station did not predict any. The Rachio 3 is much smarter in that sense and it saves you a lot of water indeed.


The Rachio 3 is compatible with Rachio Wireless Flow Sensor. This flow sensor is super smart, it not only calculates the consumption of water like the wired sensor did but does some really cool tricks. If by any chance one of your sprinklers is broken and is not working, it instantly notifies you of it. Also if the sprinkler is leaking water, or if the water is leaking anywhere in the line, it closes off the water supply to avoid waste.

It checks the flow of water and understands that extra water is being consumed due to leakage. In turn, it will instantly shut off the sprinklers, the water supply to the sprinklers themselves and notify you of a leakage. It can also be installed outside by purchasing a weatherproof enclosure.


  • Advanced Weather Intelligence
  • Wireless Flow Sensor Compatibility
  • Can Be Installed Outside (Enclosure Bought Separately)
  • Manual Controls Right on Top
  • Smartphone Support Available
  • Dual-Band WiFi 2.4GHz and 5GHz Connection
  • Easier Installation Than Rachio 2


  • Expensive

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Rachio Smart Sprinkler System

Ever turned on your sprinklers to water your garden during the day, and it rains in the afternoon? Overwatering your grass can be a huge problem, not to mention you end up wasting a lot of water as well. If you really love your yard and want to keep it healthy and save up your water bill, you need Rachio. It is a smart water sprinkling system that allows you to save your grass from being overwatered. You also end up avoiding wasting water.

So the way this works is that you connect the Rachio device to your WiFi through a phone app. Once you do so, it will check for any rain forecasts and will keep the sprinklers off the day it is supposed to rain. Also, you can program it to turn the sprinklers on at a certain time of the day. So you do not have to turn them on yourself, you just program it to do so.


The Rachio 2 vs. 3 debate all boils down to whether you can afford the Rachio 3 due to its expensive price tag. Also whether you want to use the Wireless Flow Sensor along with it or not. Because otherwise, people who have been using the Rachio 2 have not had many complaints regarding its features. Yes, the lid is hard to open, but you do not have to open it on multiple occasions since once you install the wires you can control it via a smartphone app.

Also if your local weather station forecast is accurate most of the time, then having Advanced Weather Intelligence is not worth spending a lot of money on. Unless you live in the outskirts of the city where it is taking forecast from, spending money on Rachio 3 would not be a good choice.

But Rachio 3 does have perks of its own, specifically if you are to pair it with the Wireless Flow Sensor. As we said, it could save a lot of water consumption thanks to that, since it can detect leaks right away and close the water supply. The installation is much easier and this makes the Rachio 3 superior. Also, Advanced Weather Intelligence is specifically useful when your local weather station forecasts are mostly inaccurate.