Just like every season is different, every lawn has its unique blueprint. Depending on the amount of sun you get, the rain that falls, and the choices you make with mowing, weeding, and feeding, it all comes down to balance. Watering your lawn with the Rachio 3 or 3e can make a difference in the quality and appearance of your yard. But what’s the difference between the two devices?

The Rachio 3e has multiple features that deliver supreme performance for your lawn. The Rachio 3 also allows you to achieve the perfect lawn for your home but has additional options that give you greater control of schedules, weather, and twice the zone coverage.

Depending on which level of control and options you seek for your watering needs, both the Rachio 3 and 3e deliver superior control over all aspects of water maintenance. Keep reading to discover the differences between the two systems to decide which one is best for you.

What Are the Differences Between the Rachio 3 and 3e?

The Rachio 3e is a premium smart sprinkler controller. Combined with the app, installing the Rachio 3e will give you excellent control of your property. In comparison, the Rachio 3 is the next level of smart sprinkler controller that covers more ground and adds in more diverse features to maintain your lawn.

The following feature comparison highlights can help you decide which version is right for you:

 Rachio 3eRachio 3
Control features with Rachio appYesYes
Automatically avoid watering when there is rain or watering not neededYesYes
Customize zones based on plant/soil type, sun exposure, slope, and spray headYesYes
Choose between schedule typesYes, two schedule typesYes, multiple types
Get tips and view water usageYesYes
Monitor water usage from wherever you areYesYes
Multiple zonesUp to 8 zonesUp to 16 zones
Real-time water changesNoYes
Sprinkler troubleshootingNoYes
Wireless integrationNoYes
HomeKit integrationNoYes
Flexible daily schedulesNoYes
Weather Intelligence PlusNoYes
(Sources: Rachio 3, Rachio 3e)

Is the Rachio 3 or 3e Better?

How do you know which Rachio smart sprinkler controller is the right one for your property?

Available Zones

No matter which features are essential to you, yard size will play a large part in the decision. Also, you will need to consider how many zones that will need to be programmed. Although the Rachio 3e allows for a generous eight zones, larger yards, and properties with multiple zones—up to sixteen—will require the Rachio 3 to provide the best coverage.


Both versions of the Rachio can be installed yourself. While you will find easy-to-follow instructions included with your device, certified Rachio Pros could help you set up your system if you are looking for that professional installation. Otherwise, both options have self-install options that can work for you.


As smart homes become more common, you’ll want to know if your Rachio smart sprinkler controller can connect with the devices you rely on. Both the Rachio 3 and 3e connect to a wide variety of popular assistants available.

  • The Rachio 3 connects with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Nest, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Alarm.com, and Smart Things, creating a diverse connection experience for your system.
  • The Rachio 3e connects with Amazon Alexa, Nest, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Alarm.com, and Smart Things.

With each connected device that is compatible with your Rachio controller, there are different actions that you can take for customizable control over your smart sprinkler experience:

 Rachio 3 and 3e
Amazon AlexaWith over 100 different voice commands, you can control rain skips, turn your Rachio on and off, as well as run watering zones
Apple HomeKitControl outdoor watering on multiple Apple devices (not available on the Rachio 3e)
NestMonthly Nest home report for water and energy savings, turn on sprinklers if there are signs of trouble such as smoke or fire
Google AssistantStop watering or water all zones in your yard
IFTTTStop sprinklers as you pull into your driveway and other scheduling tasks
Alarm.comSet rain delays or water your yard with the app, see what’s happening at your home without leaving the app
SmartThingsCreate custom commands, such as stopping sprinklers when your door is opened

In addition to the many features that help control your sprinklers, there are even more essential specifications you can explore. For a more in-depth chart that will delve deeper into all the features you want to consider, visit this link.


Because the Rachio 3 and 3e are similar in how they function, it may be hard to decide which version is best for your yard. In short, if you’re on a budget or don’t care too much about select smart features, you can’t go wrong with the lower-priced 3e. However, if you want all the smart features and the ability to connect to Apple HomeKit or simply have a larger yard, the Rachio 3 is the better option.

But, regardless of which Rachio smart sprinkler controller you purchase, you can be sure to have a healthy and beautiful lawn!