Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3 : Which Is Best For You?

Manual watering systems however often prove to be cumbersome to use and require constant attention and monitoring. This can be extremely difficult to do particularly and if one has a large piece of land. That’s where the Hunter Pro HC and the Rachio 3 come into play. They are smart sprinkler monitoring solutions that   offer the convenience of remotely controlling the system with one’s phone. They also feature weather monitoring capabilities allowing one to set the optimum watering schedule. It begs the question then which one is more superior and offers greater value for the money?

Table of Contents

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Comparison Table

Hunter Pro HC Rachio 3
Zones/Stations 24 16
Interface Touchscreen Interface No touchscreen, light status bar present
Features Predictive Watering Adjustments. Support for up to 24 Stations, Ability to install flow meter for alerts on broken pipes and sprinklers Automated Scheduling, local Weather Intelligence, Support for local Water restrictions. Skips unnecessary watering through, Rain skip, wind skip, freeze skip, saturation skip and seasonal shift. Customized zones and adding details about soil type and sun exposure
Outdoor compatibility Outdoor compatible Indoor compatibility only
Mobile Support Uses Hydrawise web-based software for smartphone and web browser support. Wi-Fi Enabled App enabled, Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Smart Things
Weather Monitoring Temperature forecast, rainfall probability, wind and humidity monitoring Climate monitoring via internet weather data from more than 300,000 weather stations and other data sources
Product Dimensions 4  10 9 inches 9.1  1.4  5.6 inches
Power AC power only 1 Lithium-Ion battery Required
Item Weight 5.26 pounds 1 pound
Manufacturer Hunter Industries Rachio
Provided in box Hunter Pro HC controller, 24 VAC transformer (indoor model) or built-in transformer (outdoor model), three screws and three wall anchors. Three wire nuts for U.S. outdoor and one Terminal block for European outdoor models Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, Power Adapter, Installation Guide, Mounting Screws, Limited Warranty Information
Price Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon
Hunter Pro HC
Hunter Pro HC
Rachio 3
Rachio 3

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Design

One of the biggest differences between the two watering controllers, the Hunter Pro HC and Rachio 3 is design. The Rachio 3 is very small and compact. It also has a sleek design and weighs only one pound. The Hunter Pro HC on the other hand is much larger and heavier and weighs 5.26 pounds. It is therefore good to keep this in mind when mounting the controllers on the wall. The Hunter Pro HC may need stronger dry wall mounts. The Hunter Pro HC is also bigger and has greater physical dimensions of 4  10 9 inches while the Rachio 3 only has dimensions of 9.1  1.4  5.6 inches. One crucial advantage however of the larger and bulkier design of the Hunter Pro HC is that it can be outdoor compatible. It is therefore rain proof and can withstand the varying weather elements outside. The Rachio 3 on the other hand should only be mounted inside and the wiring for the various sprinklers is then directed outside to the sprinklers.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Security

The Hunter Pro HC is lockable since the case contains a locking mechanism that requires a key to access the touchscreen and other internals. The Rachio 3 on the other is not lockable and one would need to buy an enclosure for the controller in order to keep it secure and protected from the weather elements. The Hunter Pro HC is available in two units however, the outdoor model and the indoor model that has the 24VAC transformer outside. It is wise to note that the indoor model is not water and weather resistant and must be installed indoors in a protected area.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Tech Features

Both the Hunter Pro HC and Rachio 3 are Wi-Fi enabled and support remote access through internet devices such as smart phones. The Hunter Pro HC uses the Hydrawise app while the Rachio 3 uses the Rachio app. The Rachio 3 however supports voice commands through Amazon Alexa, Google assistant and others. This allows one to control the functions of the Rachio 3 controller using voice commands. The Rachio 3 also features a status light bar for greater convenience. The Hunter Pro HC is not voice enabled but it does come will a touchscreen to enable changing of functions such as turning off water sprinklers, controlling the various zones and many more. The Hunter Pro HC also allows one to install a flow meter and set up automatic notifications so to be alerted of broken pipes or sprinklers.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Power Installation

The Hunter Pro HC and the Rachio 3 both require AC voltage however the Hunter Pro HC requires complicated wiring to the transformer for the three hot, neutral and ground connections. The Rachio 3 on the hand comes with a power adapter that only needs to be inserted into the controller power jack. The Rachio 3 also uses 1 lithium-ion battery while the Hunter Pro HC does not use a battery and watering will not occur without AC power. It does however have non-volatile memory and functions such as the program, clock and calendar will be retained even if a power outage occurs. The Hunter Pro HC also supports connections up to 24 stations and contains a built-in Milliamp sensor. The Rachio 3 supports up to 16 zones for greater control of watering systems.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Sensor Support

Both the Hunter Pro HC and the Rachio 3 have two sensor pots for sensors such as the rain or flow sensors. The controllers also offer dedicated slots for the master valve or pump which directs the flow of water to the sprinkler system. Thanks to these features one has greater control on when their vegetation such as loans is watered. These sensors also allow for greater water savings since one does not need to water the garden or the loan when it is not necessary such as when it is raining. These sensors are connected on the SEN-1 and SEN-2 for the Hunter Pro HC, with the commons on the SEN COM. On the Rachio 3 sensors are connected on the S1, S2 and 24VAC sensor power terminals. It is good to note that the Rachio three offers support for the normally closed (NC) rain sensor while the Hunter Pro HC supports both the normally closed and normally open sensors.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Pricing

Pricing can vary depending on zone coverage and features, for example the Rachio 3, 4 zone controller costs $149, the 16 zone $241.83 and the 8 zone controller costs $199.00 thanks to a 13% price reduction from the original list price of $229.99 on the Amazon store. Since the Rachio 3 is only indoor compatible on can also buy the Waterproof enclosure for $29.99 on the Amazon store. The Hunter Pro HC costs $243.80 on the Amazon store for the 6 station. A used Hunter Pro HC can also cost $159.90 on the Amazon store.

Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3: Verdict

Choosing between the Hunter Pro HC Vs Rachio 3 can often come down to preference and the specific needs of the user. The outdoor Hunter Pro HC offers good security, and water and weather proofing as default. In order to get the same features on the Rachio 3 one would have to buy an additional enclosure that costs $29.99 dollars. The Hunter Pro HC also features a touchscreen for direct control on the controller itself. The Rachio 3 does not comes with a touchscreen but it does however offer voice control through Alexa and comes with a status light bar. It is also very compact and offers a small and sleek but durable design. Installing all the wiring is also very easy as it is mostly just a case of plugging in, for example the plugging in the power adapter into the power jack. Both models are Wi-Fi enabled and allow one to set their preferred watering schedules that cater to their specific needs and take into consideration weather patterns. Pricing of both products is also fair and ranges from $149 to $241.83 for the Rachio 3 while the Hunter Pro HC costs $243.80 new.

Rachio 3: Pros

One major benefit of the Rachio 3 and especially over other traditional sprinkler controllers is the ability for remote control over Wi-Fi. Since the Rachio 3 is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, the controller can gather weather data about the area covered by the sprinkler system from over 300 000 weather stations and other data sources. This allows one to create automatic watering schedules that lower the water bill and support local water restrictions. Thanks to weather intelligence plus weather forecasting one can skip certain watering sessions that that not necessary. This possible through rain, freeze, wind, saturation skip and seasonal shift. One can also set schedules that suits the soil type and sun exposure. The mobile app is also very intuitive and can be used from anywhere over a Wi-Fi connection. Voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant also allow for greater control and flexibility. Installation is also a simple DIY project that is relatively simple.

Rachio 3: Cons

One of the downsides with the Rachio 3 is that it is not weather proof and requires an enclosure if it is to be installed outside. The smart controls for soil monitoring and weather monitoring may require some level of know how in order to ensure one sets the correct watering schedules. Voice integration with the Apple’s Siri may also be a bit challenging due to software challenges.

Hunter Pro HC: Pros

One major benefit of the Hunter Pro HC is that it is offered in two options, the outdoor and the indoor model. The outdoor model is weather resistant and it is also lockable hence offering security and peace of mind. It also offers predictive watering adjustments based on temperature forecast, rain probability, wind and humidity hence providing maximum water savings.  It allows the installation of a flow meter and setup of automatic notifications to alert the user of broken pipes or sprinklers.

Hunter Pro HC: Cons

The downsides of the Hunter Pro HC include the fact that the Setup can be quite cumbersome and requires services from a licensed electrician to fit the electrical connections. The controller also requires to be connected to an AC power source with an over-current protection device.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now we will look into some of the questions that people ask about the Hunter Pro HC and Rachio 3.

Are there any additional fees to using the Hunter Pro HC other than the original purchase price?

There are no addition fees to using the Hunter Pro HC controller, and also even using the Hydrawise app or web browser is free and only requires one to create a Hydrawise account. There are no additional fees unless a home owner wishes to use more than 3 controllers or a contractor wishes to access over 25 controllers.

Can the app support 2 Hunter Pro HC controllers? One that is 6 zone and the other that is 24 zone.

Yes, the app can support multi controllers without any issues.

If my Hunter Pro HC is frozen or defective. Where do I go for a warranty replacement?

Warranty is done through distributors. One needs to go to the Hunter web site and navigate to the “Find a Distributor” screen. Enter your city or zip and then take the controller to the distributor and request an exchange.

Is there an additional cost to use real time weather stations?

No there is no additional cost to use real time weather stations.

I have a zone that is under cover and never gets rain. Does the Rachio 3 allow for one zone to run regardless of rain while other zones don’t?

To enable this one can, create a separate schedule for this zone. Also disable Rain skip and saturation skip features for this schedule.

Can the Rachio 3 be hard wired from the modem/router with cat5 or 6? No Wi-Fi where it would be installed. Does it have an Ethernet pot?

The Rachio 3 has no Ethernet pot, but it does work with both 2.4 and 5Ghz bands of Wi-Fi. It works well and connects easily. Access point is through a wall about 25 feet away.

Does the Rachio 3 come with the flow sensor?

No, the Rachio 3 does not come with a flow sensor, it is sold separately. The Rachio 3 is compatible with the sensor though.

Does the Rachio 3 have a setting for delay between zones? The controller I’m replacing does not have this delay, it switches between zones fast, hammers pipe.

Yes, there is a feature to reduce water hammer that turns on the next zone 10 seconds early allowing no abrupt stop at the end of a zone run.


In conclusion both the Hunter Pro HC and the Rachio 3 are wonderful watering solutions and are well equipped for the job. Both controllers are Wi-Fi enabled and this allows one to control the watering schedules remotely using their internet enabled electronic gadgets. One needs only to create an account in the Rachio app for the Rachio 3 or a Hydrawise account for the Hunter Pro HC. Both controllers can use internet weather services to accurately predict weather patterns and set optimum water schedules. Whichever of the products one chooses however they are guaranteed to get good value for the money.

Hunter Pro HC
Hunter Pro HC
Rachio 3
Rachio 3