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This internet-connected sprinkler system now has faster Wi-Fi

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Rachio gen 3 Photo: Rachio

Rachio is introducing a new version of its smart sprinkler controller today, with a slight design tweak and a handful of new features. Among those is support for faster 5GHz Wi-Fi — although it’s hard to imagine that this will be terribly useful for a sprinkler system — as well as support for “hyperlocal” weather information so the system can better determine when to water your lawn and physical controls for getting your system to start and stop watering.

Those aren’t major changes, but there’s one addition that is: Rachio is also adding support for a water flow meter, which can be attached to your sprinkler system’s water line to detect leaks and wirelessly relay that info back to the system. If a leak is detected, Rachio can shut down the system so that you don’t waste water or ruin your lawn. Rachio also says the flow meter can be used to more precisely control water usage, which should theoretically lead to more efficient watering.

Rachio Wireless Flow Meter Photo: Rachio

Rachio released its first smart sprinkler controlled in 2014 and followed it up with a second generation in 2016 that included a redesigned control box and support for Alexa. The system allows homeowners to set watering schedules through an app, which can make adjustments based on the weather. The second-generation Rachio remains on sale for $200. Preorders for the third-generation model start today: it’ll launch in May for $250, or bundled with the flow meter for $330. The flow meter won’t ship until April, and both new bundles are on sale right now for $50 off.