Continuing our series of reviews for smart sprinkler products, today our discussion will be about the RainMachine Touch HD-12, which is another popular choice for smart sprinkler products. There are three Rainmachine smart sprinklers available on the market, the Mini 8, Touch HD-12 and Touch HD-16. The numbering behind the name refers to the available zones, so the Mini 8 offers 8 individual zones, and so on. The Mini 8 is a little different since it uses a smaller, simpler touchscreen control. However, many features are shared between the three of them. So, although this is a Touch HD-12 review, it can also act as a Rainmachine mini-8 review, as well as for Touch HD-16.
Similar to Rachio Smart Sprinkler, as well as several other products we will also discuss, the RainMachine Smart Sprinkler products also used weather data for its smart scheduling feature. The touchscreen control is a nice added value, allowing more onboard control and monitoring, and it is ultra bright to counter outdoor sunlight issues.
First, let us discuss the key features of the RainMachine Touch HD-12 smart sprinkler.
As mentioned, the number 12 of the Touch HD 12 stands for the 12-zone feature. 12-zone is a very decent number for a mid-sized to large gardens. You can also wire a master valve to one of the zones with a relatively simple wiring. The touchscreen, of course, allows onboard monitoring to all 12 zones, as well as onboard tweaking. If you don’t need 12 zones, there is the RainMachine Mini 8. On the other hand, if you need more, there is the Touch HD-16.
Both the smartphone and web apps for the RainMachine smart sprinklers are very well made. They are very easy to use for beginners, yet also offers in-depth monitoring, customization, and tweaking for tech-savvy users. In many ways, the RainMachine app is comparable to that of Rachio’s, and both are definitely two of the best in the market.
The Touchscreen Control
Obviously, one of the major highlights of RainMachine Touch HD-12 is the touchscreen control. In the RainMachine Mini 8, the touchscreen is also intact, albeit smaller with simpler functions. In its default state, the touchscreen will display your weather forecast for several days to come, which is really handy. Based on that information, you can do onboard tweaking through the touchscreen when necessary.
Ease of Installation
To install the RainMachine Touch HD 12, you can simply remove the old wires from your previous sprinkler and plug them straight to the RainMachine. It came with a screw template that shows the position of the wiring, and there’s also a small flat head screwdriver included. If you want to use a master valve, or this is your very first sprinkler, admittedly the wiring process can be more complicated. However, they are still manageable. The RainMachine Touch HD-12 installation is simply among the easiest out of its competitors.
Simply put, the RainMachine Touch HD-12, as well as the Mini 8 and Touch HD-16 is some of the best looking smart sprinklers out there. Not only the touchscreen but the plastic material around it is pretty sleek. Although it is a matter of preference, and we wouldn’t choose a smart sprinkler based on beauty alone, it is definitely a nice added value.
Our Review of RainMachine Touch HD 12 Sprinkler Controller
If you already got an old sprinkler, installing the RainMachine Touch HD-12, RainMachine 8, or RainMachine Touch HD-16 will be a breeze. If you are not tech savvy, you can simply see the wiring of your old sprinkler, take a photo if necessary, and do the same wiring with the RainMachine smart sprinkler.
If you want to use a master valve, there is also a detailed instruction on the RainMachine HD-12 manual, which is quite easy to follow. If, however, the RainMachine will be your very first sprinkler system, you might need the help of a professional to set up your wiring.
What we really liked from the RainMachine HD-12 is the paper template to help you with attaching the controller to the wall. Simply tape the paper template to your wall, drill holes where the template indicated, and you can screw the RainMachine to the wall with ease.
Once you plugged the RainMachine to the power outlet, the system should boot up immediately. Download the app to your phone, and you can follow the comprehensive step-by-step guide to connect your Wi-Fi Network. RainMachine will then pull your GPS location data, and ask you to confirm it. Since RainMachine works with NOAA weather data, pinpointing accurate location will be important.
Setting Up The Zones
If you only want a basic sprinkler program, setting up the RainMachine Touch HD-12 will be really simple. Touch the settings icon, select Programs, and Add New Program. Name the program to anything you want, set the watering frequency, start time, and base watering duration.Then, the RainMachine will automatically adjust the program based on the weather forecast. If you want to use different program with different zones, it is also very simple. You can select which zones to apply before saving any program.
For those who want more in-depth customization and programming, there is no shortage of options with the RainMachine. For example, there is the “Cycle and Soak” function to break the watering to multiple cycles. You can also delay the watering between zones.
So, as you can see, RainMachine Touch HD-12 is fairly easy to use. For any RainMachine troubleshooting, the team at RainMachine’s official website and hotline is also very helpful.
Pros and Cons
After a thorough test with the RainMachine Touch HD-12, here are what we liked and disliked from the product.
- Beautiful design with touchscreen for manual control
- Easy installation and wiring-One of the best app and web app in the business
- Open API for third-party integration
- Great NOAA weather-based scheduling
- If there’s a conflicting watering schedule, RainMachine app won’t give any warning
- Third-party integration is fairly limited, and the Open API can’t emit events
- No RainMachine rain sensor and can’t use additional sensor
In many ways, RainMachine Touch HD-12, Mini 8, and HD-16 is comparable to Rachio 2nd Gen Smart Sprinkler, so a Rainmachine vs Rachio comparison will be unavoidable. Both feature great smartphone apps, very easy installation and usage, and are very reliable. In our opinion, the major difference between the two is the third-party integration, in which the Rachio 2nd Gen shines.
However, the Touch HD-12 offers better onboard control, as well as offering more zones (12 v 8) while being slightly more affordable. If you are looking for native third-party integration, Rachio is slightly better. On other cases, the RainMachine Touch HD-12 is almost always a better pick.