Skip to Content

Rachio 3 vs Rachio 3E: Fact & Distinctions (In-Depth Comparision)

Rachio 3 vs Rachio 3E: Fact & Distinctions (In-Depth Comparision)

Smart irrigation controllers like the Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e let homeowners quickly control their lawn watering system with a smartphone app.

Both versions include features including programmable watering schedules, irrigation that is customized to plants and soil types, and water usage monitoring. The two models do, however, differ in a few ways.

Although the Rachio 3e is more reasonably priced, it lacks some of the more sophisticated capabilities found in the Rachio 3, such as flow sensing and weather intelligence.

To assist you in choosing the model that best suits your needs, we will examine the differences between both the Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e in this article.

There are seven key differences between the Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e smart irrigation controllers.

The Rachio 3 has a range of advanced features that are not available on the Rachio 3e, including the ability to control 16 zones, a Flex Daily schedule, a Yard Map feature, Weather Intelligence, and compatibility with HomeKit.

The Rachio 3 can also be used with the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter. However, the Rachio 3e lacks these features.

If you want to learn more about the differences between these two models, you can find a full overview below.

Video about sprinklers with Rachio 3 controller
Differences Between Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e ExplainedNumber of Zones
Watering Schedules
Weather Intelligence
Yard Map Feature
Wireless Flow Meter
HomeKit
Future Premium Software Features:
Which Rachio Is for You?Rachio 3
Rachio 3e
Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: Does Rachio 3 Require a Subscription?


Q: Can Rachio Detect Leak?


Q: Should I Unplug My Rachio for Winter?
Content Overview

Differences Between Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e Explained

Number of Zones

The Rachio 3 offers more flexibility in terms of the number of zones it can control. It is available in 8 or 16-zone models, while the Rachio 3e is only available in an 8-zone model.

If you have a medium-sized yard, the 8-zone system of the Rachio 3e should suffice. However, if you have a larger yard, the Rachio 3 with its 8 or 16-zone options may be a better choice.

Watering Schedules

  • Rachio 3 offers three options: Fixed, Flex Monthly, and Flex Daily
  • Rachio 3e offers two options: Fixed and Flex Monthly

Flex Daily is a smart and unique watering schedule that is only available on the Rachio 3.

It adjusts watering frequency and duration based on moisture levels, hyperlocal weather forecasts, and individual zone characteristics to provide efficient watering for each zone.

Flex Monthly, which is available on both the Rachio 3 and Rachio 3e, adjusts watering frequency and duration based on seasonal changes.

The Fixed schedule, which is also available on both models, allows users to set up a fixed watering schedule.

Sprinkler spraying water in a yard.
Sprinkler in yard

Weather Intelligence

Rachio 3 has Weather Intelligence Plus technology, which uses multiple data sources to create a precise weather system and unique watering schedules daily.

Rachio 3e has standard Weather Intelligence technology, which relies on a single National Weather Service Station and offers features such as Rain Skip, Wind Skip, Freeze Skip, Saturation Skip, and Seasonal Shift to skip unnecessary watering.


The Rachio 3’s Weather Intelligence Plus technology provides more comprehensive and accurate weather data, resulting in more efficient watering schedules.

On the other hand, the Rachio 3e’s standard Weather Intelligence technology still requires users to be cautious in their watering schedules.

Yard Map Feature

  • Available on Rachio 3 controllers with the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter
  • Not available on Rachio 3e

The Yard Map feature allows users to create a personalized image of their landscape by customizing sprinkler heads to zone boundaries, which helps improve water usage reporting.

This feature is only available on Rachio 3 controllers with the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter and is not available on Rachio 3e controllers.

Wireless Flow Meter

  • Available for Rachio 3
  • Not available for Rachio 3e

The Wireless Flow Meter provides precise outdoor water usage monitoring and helps detect leaks and blockages, triggering instant zone shut-off if necessary.

It also has low-flow leak detection with accurate Vortex technology. The Wireless Flow Meter is only available for the Rachio 3 and is not supported by the Rachio 3e.

Close up shot of a water sprinklers
Water Sprinkler

HomeKit

  • Available on Rachio 3
  • Not available on Rachio 3e

The Rachio 3 supports HomeKit, allowing users to add their Rachio controller to other smart devices in the Apple Home app.

While the Rachio 3e does not support HomeKit, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Future Premium Software Features:

  • Only available for Rachio 3

Rachio 3 controllers will have access to future premium software features that are not available for Rachio 3e controllers.

Which Rachio Is for You?

Rachio 3

  • Suitable for those who are passionate about gardening and willing to invest in their hobby
  • Works well for HomeKit users and those who want precise control over multiple zones (up to 16) with flexible daily watering schedules and advanced Weather Intelligence reporting

Rachio 3e

  • Suitable for those with a medium-sized yard who want a basic controller without the need to spend a lot of time on water schedules and weather reports
  • More affordable than the Rachio 3
Water sprinkler spraying water.
Water Sprinkler

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Rachio 3 Require a Subscription?

Ans: The Rachio 3 Smart Water System does not require a subscription, and there are no recurring costs to use it.

The app is free to download and all software and firmware updates are automatically provided for the life of the product at no additional cost.

Q: Can Rachio Detect Leak?

Ans: The Rachio Wireless Flow Meter, available with the Rachio 3 controller, is designed to detect broken sprinkler heads, ruptured pipes, and even low-flow leaks using highly-sensitive Vortex technology.

This feature helps you avoid catastrophic leaks and provides insights into your outdoor water use.

Q: Is Rachio Coming Out With New Controller?

Ans: Rachio is introducing a new controller called the PRO Series, which will replace the current Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.

The Rachio 3 controller will no longer be shipped after February 8, 2022. However, Rachio will continue to honor warranties for the Rachio 3, which are now 2 years from the date of manufacture.

Q: Should I Unplug My Rachio for Winter?

Ans: Winterization is recommended for those living in climates with freezing temperatures to protect the irrigation system and Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller from damage caused by frozen pipes.

This process involves removing all water from the system to prevent pipes from bursting.

Conclusion

  • The Rachio 3 offers more options for the number of zones, with models available in 8 or 16 zones, while the Rachio 3e is only available in an 8-zone model.
  • Rachio 3 has three watering schedule options (Fixed, Flex Monthly, and Flex Daily), while the Rachio 3e has two options (Fixed and Flex Monthly).
  • The Rachio 3 has Weather Intelligence Plus technology, which is more comprehensive and accurate than the standard Weather Intelligence technology available on the Rachio 3e.
  • The Yard Map feature, which allows users to create a personalized image of their landscape and improve water usage reporting, is only available on Rachio 3 controllers with the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter.
  • The Rachio 3 has a Wireless Flow Meter, which provides precise outdoor water usage monitoring and helps detect leaks and blockages, while the Rachio 3e does not offer this feature.
  • The Rachio 3 supports HomeKit, while the Rachio 3e does not. However, both models are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Rachio 3 controllers will have access to future premium software features that are not available for Rachio 3e controllers.

Other Articles