Our homes are getting smarter these days, with all kinds of new ways to measure, analyze and optimize our experience, consumption and cost efficiency. Whether you are the type of person who has Alexa controlling your home temperature or not minding manually flipping the light switch, however, a smart sprinkler can be more convenient than you think.
So what makes the Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Device special? Well, while several sprinkler and spigot timers have been around for years, you can control them from your phone. It is one of the few smart irrigation systems where you do not already need a luxury irrigation system.
Why would I need Orbit’s B-hyve?
Depending on your local weather, your sprinkler usage may be quite sparse — or even nonexistent. That said, regardless of your regional weather tendencies, this timer can up your yard game. In conjunction with the Wi-Fi hub, the B-hyve uses location to track weather conditions, as well as details such as soil type and yard slope. This tracker also adapts to droughts, making it easy to track water restrictions if needed.
For my usage, living in a desert environment means we get some wild and unpredictable flash flooding in the spring. With all the other timers I used, I’d end up being away from home in a downpour while our sprinkler was watering the lawn at the same time. First of all, quite poor use of water and from a practical point of view it only adds to the flooding. Although this is a seasonal issue, the B-hyve has optimized our watering habits for the rest of the year with its WeatherSense technology, which monitors the weather in your area.
What is good about the B-hyve watering system?
It’s easy to set up
I initially bought the B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer with the Wi-Fi hub for our front yard, which was literally just dirt. (Since then, I’ve added a second device for our backyard.)
The low-profile Wi-Fi hub plugs into a relatively central point in our house (it wasn’t necessary) and connects quickly. The timer itself screws directly onto your faucet and runs on a pair of double A batteries. You set your location and follow the instructions in the setup wizard, then continue syncing with an Amazon or Google Home device.
Once it’s set up, it takes no effort at all. You can switch between different custom watering cycles or enable Smart Watering, which waters automatically based on your location and data input. I found that our yard is not the right shape for a single sprinkler, so I added a hose splitter and sprinkler because the water timing is the same throughout the area.
The other option is to add an additional B-hyve attachment if different watering habits are required for a separate area of the yard (e.g. lawn versus yard). You don’t need an extra WiFi hub for this. In fact, you can technically get away without the hub altogether by just using a Bluetooth connection, but this takes away a few key features – and tends to be more finicky.
The B-hyve helps you look at your water consumption statistics
If you’re a stickler for your water bill or simply prefer precision when it comes to feeding your plants, you’ll appreciate the flowmeter’s stats. Watering history can be viewed by day, week, month and year, and numbers provided include gallons used and watering times. This can be further broken down by zone or individual sprinkler.
The device also estimates the soil moisture percentage, taking into account recent rainfall and soil type (based on location). You can choose to use these stats to manually adjust your watering habits or let the smart device do its job.
Which parts of the B-Hyve need to be improved?
User experience is right around three stars. The main problem is that the app is still working out its bugs. There is no specific function that does not work; overall it’s just a bit glitchy and slow. It can take a while to find what you’re looking for in the app, as it’s not the most intuitive setup. (This is specifically the case with different watering zones versus individual sprinklers.) But it’s nothing that can’t be discovered through trial and error.
Admittedly, this next issue is a little nitpicky on my part: While the product itself seems sturdy enough, I wish it were metal rather than plastic. Since it is constantly outside, something of a heavier construction would be ideal. This is more for my peace of mind than anything else as I don’t have any housing issues yet.
There are also reviews that report problems with the management of the devices when they have a large watering area with many devices connected. I haven’t had this problem as we only connected two of the timers.
Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Device: The Verdict
In short, this device is very easy to use. The installation took very little time and was reliable and precise. It gives me one less thing to think about – and I’m convinced that the somewhat buggy app is something that can be fixed in the future.
The flowmeter stats are useful if you’re the king of precision, but I’ve found the WeatherSense technology and location-based data do the job just fine.
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