With the explosion of smart devices in our homes, we begin to see far more variety than ever before in what can be automated or made smart. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much to adjust, but in the case of the Orbit B-Hyve smart sprinkler, the value is almost visible right away.
Since my wife and I have refurbished our house, we decided that it was the way to change all the things in our home that could be replaced with smart products. We started with light bulbs and smart switches, we added a ring bell and a nest thermostat, as well as other less smart options. When we noticed that our lawn died, we decided to see which smart options were available in the garden.
A smart sprinkler needs to reach certain criteria in my mind:
- It must connect to my phone.
- It needs to connect to Alexa or Google Assistant.
- It must be dynamically adjusted.
Fortunately, B-Hyve does all these things, and it does the same price as the average mute sprinkler.
It took exactly 13 minutes and 5 seconds – from box to wall – to install B-Hyve and get it to water my lawn. The small gray box looks great in my garage, and the lack of buttons makes the whole unit look nice and modern. The setup included the removal of my old sprinkler – be sure to write down which wires went there – replace it with B-Hyve and get the app setup and B-Hyve talk to the internet.
The app itself (criteria 1 if you remember) is incredibly easy to set up. It asks you a lot of questions about your zone setup, including the soil type, gradients and any water restrictions your local area may have. The water restrictions are good at B-Hyve, as you can't even manually increase it on the dates that are blocked.
Once set up, you can see each of your four zones, even if I only have two – you even get them a picture – and you can adjust any of the settings while on the go for to make sure you get the best water experience. This is where criteria 3 play. B-Hyve automatically checks the local weather to ensure that the water is actually needed. If you have a storm, which we have right now, B-Hyve will not waste water by sprinkling the already soaked lawn.
It took exactly 13 minutes and 5 seconds – from box to wall – to install B-Hyve and get it to water my lawn
When I had everything ready to go, I availed myself of the timing system to create three different timer programs on the app. Each program can have multiple start and end times, so you can get the sprinklers several times a day, but give you some flexibility in the overall scheme. My garden needs a lot more watering in the summer months than it does in the winter, so I have two programs for it, as well as one for when I go on holiday to make sure that the plants are a little overwhelmed, as I don't want to be there to increase it.
All this ease of use makes the B-Hyve a great find, and for around $ 50 for the four-zone version it's also a great price.
B-Hyve Sprinkler What you may not want
Criteria 2 must be addressed here. While B-Hyve works with Alexa, it's not as connected as I want. Instead of being connected via the device tab on the Alexa app, you must use a skill. This is not a big deal, and certainly not a dealbreaker, but that means you can't just say "Alexa, turn my zone 2 sprinkler." Instead, ask Alexa to ask B-Hyve to turn it on, which is much more cumbersome and far more vulnerable.
To make smart home integration worthwhile, it must be as easy to use as it is to do manually. If I need to ask Alexa four times to ask B-Hyve to turn on the sprinkler, I may have just gone out and pressed a button. Not ideal.
The only other small problem I have is that the plastic doesn't feel in any way. If it was inside my house, I wouldn't stand for the cheap feel, but as it is in my garage and rarely seen, I can live with it. The shape and design is fantastic, so it looks perfect where it is, it is only when you touch it, you notice it cheaper stamped.
B-Hyve Sprinkler Should you buy it?
I'm really impressed with the B-Hyve Smart Sprinkler as a whole. The plastic is a little cheap and the Alexa connection is a skill, but the app design and connection to the weather service make it a worthwhile investment. On the journey to make my home as smart as possible, I have found a few gems and this is definitely one.
Oh, I forgot to mention, B-Hyve has already saved money on my water bills while my plants grew better than before. I really recommend it to anyone who wants to make their farms and gardens a bit clever, for some money.