Our homes are getting smarter and smarter these days, with all sorts of new ways to measure, analyze and optimize our experience, consumption and cost-efficiency. Whether you're the type of person who has Alexa controlling your home temperature or don’t mind flipping the light switch manually, though, a smart sprinkler can be handier than you think.
So what makes the Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Device special? Well, while different sprinkler and spigot timers have been around for years, you can control this one from your phone. It is one of the only smart watering systems that doesn’t require you to already own a fancy irrigation system.
Why would I need Orbit's B-hyve?
Depending on your local weather, your sprinkler use may be pretty sparse — or even nonexistent. That being said, no matter your regional weather tendencies, this timer could up your garden game. When paired with the Wi-Fi hub, the B-hyve uses location to track weather conditions as well as specifics like soil type and yard slope. This tracker also adjusts to droughts, making it easy to follow water restrictions as necessary.
For my use, living in a desert environment means we get some wild and unpredictable flash floods in the spring. With any other timers I used, I would end up being away from the house with a downpour of rain while our sprinkler was simultaneously watering the lawn. First of all, pretty bad use of water and from a practical standpoint, it just adds to the flood. While 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's 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 quite literally just dirt beforhand. (I have since added a second device for our backyard.)
The low-profile Wi-Fi hub is plugged in at a relatively central point in our home (this wasn’t required) and connected quickly. The timer itself screws on directly to your spigot and runs on a few double-A batteries. You set your location and follow the setup wizard instructions and then can further sync with an Amazon or Google Home device.
Once it’s set, there's zero effort required. You can flip between several customized watering cycles or turn on Smart Watering, which will automatically water based on your location and data input. I found our yard is not the right shape for a single sprinkler, so I added a hose splitter and sprinkler as the water timing is the same across the whole area.
The other option is to add an additional B-hyve attachment if different watering habits are necessary for a separate area of the yard (i.e., lawn vs. garden). You don’t need an additional Wi-Fi 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 important features — and tends to be more finicky.
The B-hyve helps you see into your water use stats
If you happen to be a stickler for your water bill or just prefer precision when it comes to feeding your plants, you will appreciate the flow meter statistics. The watering history can be viewed by day, week, month and year increments, and the numbers provided include gallons used and times watered. This can be broken down further by zone or individual sprinkler.
The device also estimates soil moisture percentage considering recent rainfall and soil type (based on location). You can choose to use these stats to adjust your watering habits manually or just let the smart device do its thing.
What Parts of the B-Hyve Need Improvement?
User experience is right around the three-star. The main issue is that the app is still working out its bugs. There's no specific function that doesn’t work; overall, it’s just a bit glitchy and slow. It can take a bit to find what you're looking for inside the app, as it is not the most intuitive setup. (This is the case specifically with different watering zones vs. individual sprinklers.) But it's nothing that can’t be figured out with trial and error.
Admittedly, this next issue is a bit nitpicky on my end: while the product itself seems sturdy enough, I wish it were metal rather than plastic. With it being outside constantly, something of heavier-duty construction would be ideal. This is more for my peace of mind than anything else, as I have yet to have issues related to the housing.
There have also been reviews that report problems managing the devices when they have a large watering area with many devices hooked up. I have not had this issue, as we only have two of the timers connected.
Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Device: The Verdict
Bottom line, this device is very easy to use. The setup barely took any time, and it has been reliable and exact. It gives me one less thing to think about —and I'm confident the somewhat buggy app is something that can be fixed in the future.
The flow meter's stats are helpful if you’re the king of precision, but I have found the WeatherSense technology and location-based data do the job just fine.