If you've always wanted an automated sprinkler but don't have the budget for an in-ground system, the $99.95 Eve Aqua from Elgato can help. This neat-looking gadget attaches to your outdoor water spigot and connects to your iOS device via Bluetooth, allowing you to create watering schedules, turn the water on and off using Siri voice commands, and see how much water you are using. It's a cinch to install, but it only works on iOS devices and doesn't support IFTTT applets or use the local weather to schedule watering cycles like the Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer does.
Design and Features
The Eve Aqua controller is housed in an attractive black and silver enclosure with an IPX4 water resistance rating. It measures 5.2 by 3.7 by 3.1 inches (HWD) and has a threaded female connector on top that attaches to the water spigot and a threaded male connector at the bottom that attaches to a garden hose. The front of the controller has an on/off button that opens and closes the valve.Our Experts Have Tested 127 Products in the Smart Home Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
The unit is powered by two AA batteries, which are included. To install them, slide the panel on the bottom of the enclosure forward to reveal the battery compartment. The controller connects to your iOS device via Bluetooth Low Energy radio, which means you need to be within close proximity (around 30 feet) for it to stay connected. If you want to control it remotely, you'll have to use an Apple TV or configure an iPod as a Wi-Fi gateway.
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It supports HomeKit, which means it can be used in HomeKit Scenes and controlled using Siri voice commands. However, you can't use the Aqua with Android devices, and it doesn't work with IFTTT applets or with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. It also doesn't generate push alerts or access the local weather service to adjust watering times based on rainfall forecasts, both features found on the Orbit B-Hyve and other smart sprinkler controllers like the Rachio 3 and the Blossom Smart Watering Controller.
You can turn the Aqua on or off using HomeKit's My Home app, or you can use the Eve mobile app, which also controls other Eve devices such as the Eve Room Air Quality Monitor, the Eve Door and Window Sensors, and the Eve Smart Plug (we're in the process of testing these, so check back soon for reviews). The app opens to a Rooms screen that displays a list of all HomeKit rooms with their installed devices. Tap the location where the Aqua is installed (I put it in the backyard) to open a screen where you can turn the valve on and off using the button. When you tap the device name it opens a screen with tabs labeled Watering, Schedule, Last Watered, Default Duration, and Estimated Consumption.
The Watering tab has an On/Off button and shows you how much time is left in the current watering cycle. The Schedule tab is where you go to program as many watering periods as you want. Here you can schedule the controller to turn on and off at specific times and days and specify custom watering durations. The Last Watered tab tells you when the last time the valve was open for watering and is accompanied by a chart showing run times and off times. Double tap the chart to see a detailed listing of watering times with the amount of water used each time. You can set the length of each watering session using the Default Duration setting which has options ranging from 10 seconds to four hours. The Estimated Consumption tab gives you an estimate of weekly and monthly water usage based on your schedule and includes weekly and monthly charts.
At the bottom of the screen are HomeKit buttons for Scenes (automations), Rooms, Types (types of HomeKit devices installed), and Settings. The Settings screen offers settings for each installed HomeKit device including options to change the assigned room and name, enable notifications, and remove the device. Here you can also add new devices to HomeKit.
Installation and Performance
Installing the Eve Aqua couldn't be easier. I attached the device to my spigot, attached a hose to the bottom connector, and downloaded the iOS app. I went to Settings in the app, tapped Add Accessory to My Home, and tapped Eve Aqua. To pair the device to HomeKit, I scanned the HomeKit code on the left side of the controller. Once scanned, it took around 10 seconds to connect. I created a room (backyard) for it, updated the firmware, and was done. The entire installation took less than five minutes.
The Eve Aqua controller worked flawlessly in my testing. It instantly turned on and off when using the button on the device itself and when using the On/Off button in the app. It never failed to react to a scene and followed my schedules without issue.
My only gripe with its performance is that the gears are noticeably loud when turning to open and close the valve. Chances are you won't hear it in your house since the Aqua will likely be installed outside, but it is much noisier than the Orbit controller.
Turning your garden hose into a smart watering system is easy with the Elgato Eve Aqua. Simply connect it to your outdoor spigot and garden hose with whatever type of sprinkler device you prefer, create a schedule, and let it do its thing. You can turn your water on and off using Siri voice commands, create a watering schedule, or create a HomeKit scene to start watering at sunrise. You can also see an estimation of how much water you're using and when you last watered, but the controller doesn't adjust watering schedules based on weather or work with IFTTT applets. Moreover, it only works with iOS devices. For a few bucks less, the Orbit B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer will also transform your outdoor spigot into a smart watering system, and it works with both iOS and Android devices, supports IFTTT applets and Alexa voice commands, and adjusts your watering schedule based on your local weather conditions, making it a stronger buy and our Editors' Choice.
Elgato Eve Aqua3.5See It$97.00 at AmazonMSRP $99.95
The Bottom Line
The Eve Aqua from Elgato lets you turn your outdoor spigot into a smart watering system that you can control with your phone and voice.
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