Smart hose timers make so much sense on paper—they allow you to turn anything attached to your hose spigot on and off from anywhere using your phone. And if it’s raining, the smart timer will know and turn off the flow for you. It will also track how much water you’re using, allow you to set up automated watering schedules, turn on and off with a single button press—though these are promises even “dumb” hose timers make.

The problem with smart timers is that you often can’t trust them—the wifi disconnects, the batteries run out, or they leak, and you’re out of luck. After trying a number of smart hose offerings on the market, from the Hunter BTT to the Orbit B-Hyve, I tested out the new Rachio earlier this summer, and it outperformed them all—it’s the first timer that’s been predictable and stable. Unfortunately, it’s also lacking some of the advanced features and flexibility of those underperforming models.

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