Did you know that spending more time outdoors has loads of scientifically-proven benefits, from reducing stress to improving physical health?
That’s right – and even half an hour in your backyard could help.
However, you might not be keen to spend much in your yard if it isn’t a comfortable place to be.
Investing in a patio swing is a wonderful way to add a little luxury to your space – you’ll soon be outside enjoying the sunshine all year round.
Keep reading for details on nine of the best patio swings, from fancy outdoor sofas to traditional wooden log swings.
This wooden porch swing has a lovely traditional look, and it’s perfect for couples or families.
The swing consists of two separate seats, so both occupants can enjoy their own personal space.
In the center of the swing, there’s a handy wooden cupholder with room for two drinks. Rather than being forced to place outdoor tables at either side of the swing, you can simply store beverages right next to you.
The Mainstays 3 Seat Porch and Patio swing is a really versatile option that’s ideal for large families or homeowners who like to entertain.
The swing is large enough to comfortably seat three adults or several small children, and the material is soft and comfortable.
There’s an awning up above, which offers much-needed protection for the sun on those scorching hot days.
Not keen on swings that look like outdoor sofas, and want a more rustic option?
This log swing from Lakeland Mills could be a perfect choice.
It’s made from an attractive natural wood, and the frame of the swing has a traditional log design which makes it look unique and interesting.
The swing is made from white cedar, meaning it’s resistant to creepy-crawlies, rot, and decay. It’s environmentally friendly and easy to assemble.
Looking for an awesome porch swing for one?
This hammock chair swing from Sorbus is the best way to relax in style.
It’s made from cotton and polyester, has a deep, comfortable hammock-style design, and is filled with super soft cushioning.
Want to relax to the max?
With this swing, you really can – and it’s easy to hang from trees anywhere in your backyard, offering loads of versatility. Simply pick your favorite spot and install the most comfortable swing seat you’ve ever seen.
Looking for a swing that’s light, summery, and makes you feel like you’re on vacation?
This wicker porch swing from Coral Coast might be perfect.
Made from pretty white wicker, the swing looks bright and welcoming and easily matches the rest of your garden decor.
You can add an optional cushion in a range of colors for extra comfort and style, or stick with the traditional plain wicker look. It’s an all-weather swing, so you won’t have to worry about rot or water damage.
Prepare yourself for the most versatile patio swing you’ve ever seen.
The Outsunny Convertible has a smart 3-in-1 design and can be used as a swing seat, a protective canopy, or a bed, depending on your current needs.
When used as a canopy alone, the Outsunny Convertible offers a good amount of shade that’s ideal for picnics or playtime with kids. Curtains around the edge of the frame offer protection from bugs and create a fun mini-gazebo.
With the swing attached, the seat has room for three people and is soft and comfortable. It’s quite high off the ground, making it perfect for taller guests.
Finally, the convertible can be used as a relaxing day bed, ideal for chilling out in style on hot days.
This is a super-cool, modern option that’s ideal for trendsetters.
The swing comes with a metal frame, so you won’t have to worry about finding a place to hang it. The seat itself is long enough to allow you to stretch out and relax, and the canopy will protect you from sun damage.
The Burgundy Belleze is a pretty swing seat that’s ideal for adding color.
It comes in a deep, rich shade which will add warmth and style to any yard. There’s plenty of room for two to three people, and the large canopy keeps you comfortably shaded.
Patio swings are an awesome place to relax with guests, spend time with family, or unwind at the end of a long day.
Choose a seat that offers shade, comfort, style, and convenience to maximise the time you spend in your backyard.
Want more patio-enhancing tips? Check out our blog.
You’ve done the traditional tailgater barbecue and it was fun. But everyone is on the act now and you’d like to do something different this football season.
What would be a good game day treat for this season?
How about cooking real wood-fired pizzas to go along with those ice-cold artisan brews that you’ve packed? It’s so easy with the Uuni 3 outdoor pizza oven. In 60 seconds you could turn out hot, tasty pizzas and be wowing the crowd just like your favorite team.
Quick NavigationWhat’s the Uuni 3 Pizza Oven?What’s in the BoxWhat Can You Expect?First Off, How Does It All Work?Baking your pizzaPutting the fire outHere Are the Standard Features of the Uuni 3 pizza ovenWhat Kind of Fuel Does It Use?Can I Use Propane in the Uuni 3?Can I Use this in a Commercial Setting?What Else Can I Make in a Uuni 3 Pizza Oven?What’s the Uuni 3 Pizza Oven Cleaning Routine?Any Tips or Tricks to Getting My Best Pie?Do I Have to Do Anything Special with the Uuni 3 Pizza Oven?What’s the Warranty Period?Any Concerns to Be Aware of?Extras That Make Outdoor Cooking BetterWhere Can I Buy the Uuni 3 Pizza Oven?Ok Then, What’s the Final Word?
The Uuni 3 is the latest version of the popular Kickstarter funded wood pellet pizza oven made by Uuni. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here.
You can make Neapolitan style pizzas in as little as 60 seconds just about anywhere. And that’s not all. Because of Uuni’s fast, high heat, It’s great for cooking many other foods too.
It has several improvements and modifications over the Uuni 2S that the manufacturer said were directly the result of customer comments. We’ll talk about those in a moment.
With just a few parts to remove, the Uuni quickly becomes a portable pizza oven making it great for tailgating, the beach or the park. The three-legged design makes it great for setting up on uneven surfaces.
NOTE: wood pellets Do Not come with the stove, so be sure to buy some when ordering the unit. The unit doesn’t come with a cover, but there is a form fitted one available that becomes a handy carrying bag. Both are listed below.
The whole unit gets extremely hot
Largest pizza size is 12 inches
Relatively Light weight
Door isn’t hinged
Easy to assemble
Flame guard on stone is easy to knock off
Cheap, environmentally friendly fuel
It requires some minor assembly. For most users, it took about 10-15 minutes. The 3 legs on the Uuni 3 fold out and, according the manufacturer, make the unit more stable. The chimney clamps on the top. It’s designed to be removable, making the oven transportable.
Once assembled, fill up the pellet tray and box. The pellets can be fired up using a torch, gel or paraffin packs, Tumbleweeds Fire Starters or lighter fluid.
Tip: Make sure you put the hopper cap back on before trying to light them otherwise you will never get them fully started.
Uuni’s preferred method of lighting the Uuni oven is to use a torch. Poke the lit nozzle of the torch through the port on the right-hand side of the tray to light the wood pellets. They’ll be burning and ready to heat the oven in about 60 seconds.
Once lit, you’ll be ready to start cooking after a 10 minute or so warmup. Because the Uuni is a wood fired pizza oven, it runs at a very high heat which means there will be some flare ups. Make sure you have plenty of clearance around it.
The cooking is done by drafting the flame and heat over the top of the pizza and stone and out the chimney.
Tip: When making your pizzas, make them smaller than 13 inches so that they can fit through the doorway.
Now, slide the pie all the way to the back of the oven and put the front cover on.
Once the pie is in don’t take your eyes off it, you’re going to need to turn it in about 30 seconds. The reason for this is that high temperature I mentioned – 932°F/500°C. It will keep you on your toes.
Depending on how you make your pizzas, you’ll need to experiment with time because there’s no real way to accurately regulate the heat and flame.
Don’t be discouraged as it’s going to take a little practice to master the pizza oven, but you’ll get it down in no time.
When they say a pizza cooked in 60 seconds, they mean it!
Once you’re done cooking with the Uuni, you can let the pellets burn down to a small pile of ash that can be thrown away or used as a fertilizer (check with your plant specialist).
If you’d rather not wait until they burn down, you can remove the grate on the pellet tray and dump the embers into a metal bucket of water. Make sure that you’re wearing a heatproof glove when pulling out the hot pellet tray.
Let the oven cool completely before cleaning or handling the oven.
Fun Fact: Uuni means oven in Finnish
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Same as the Uuni 2S:
Brushed Stainless steel body for a lighter weight cooking environment
Cordierite ceramic pizza stone for even cooking of the dough
Uses wood pellets for efficiency and woody flavoring
Wood handles to protect your hands from high heat
Removable chimney for portability
Improvements and additions to the Uuni 3:
Heats up in as little as 10 minutes
Reaches a temperature of 932°F/500°C
The Uuni 3 oven roof is insulated for better heat efficiency
Better temperature control and more consistent cooking with the newly designed pellet feeder
Better mounting for the front heat deflector. It’s easy to knock off in the Uuni 2S.
A cooking stone mounted rear heat deflector
Three-legged design for stability on uneven surfaces
The Uuni uses wood pellets that are an inexpensive and sustainable energy source for its fire. The manufacturer recommends using 100% natural hardwood food grade pellets. This way, you avoid the chemicals and binders that are found in the cheaper alternatives.
One user’s recommendation was to use the Uuni branded pellets because they will burn cleaner and last a little longer. They are made from 100% American Oak.
The manufacturer states that their pellets are optimized for neutral flavor, high temperatures and sized especially for the Uuni wood fired pizza oven.
You can use other pellets like the Traeger brand for smokers or any alder or oak pellet. Don’t use Mesquite or hickory as the flavor will be too intense for the pizza.
You’ll need about 3 cups of pellets to get going. Once the heat is up and you’re cooking, it takes about a cup per pizza as you go. You may use more if you use the following suggestion:
One user recommends letting the pellets burn down about halfway and then pop the pizza in to cook. In his experience, he’s found that helps keep the flame from scorching the pizza and gives the pie a nice smoked woody taste.
You’ll get about 50 pizzas per 20 pounds of pellets.
At the time of the writing of this article, the Uuni 3 pizza oven doesn’t use propane. However, the company does say a propane conversion unit will soon be available. If you’re an Uuni 2S owner, the conversion is supposed to work for you as well.
How Long Do I Have to Wait Between Pizzas?
Figure about 4-5 minutes between pies to allow the heat to recover to the right temperature. Opening the door lets a good amount of heat out, so make sure to close it up between batches. Also consider the minute or so to let the pellets burn down.
If you put the pizzas together beforehand, you can save creation time. Keep them covered so they don’t dry out.
You might be able to if you keep an eye on the fuel. The problem is that the Uuni burns the pellets pretty quickly, so you need to keep feeding the pellet box.
If you keep feeding the pellets at the right rate and amount to be continuously burning, you should be able to turn out the pizzas fairly quickly. But it is a small outdoor pizza oven, so keep that in mind when planning events.
Here are the measurements and weight if you’re going to be moving it around:
Shipping weight is 24.3 pounds
Assembled weight is 22 pounds
Assembled, it measures 8.6” x 14.1” x 29” (HxWxL) add 17” to the height for the removable chimney
Like most of the available pizza ovens, just about anything you can fit through the opening and still be able to close the door. In the case of the Uuni 3, its high temperatures are perfect for flat breads, seafood, meat, and vegetables as well as pizza.
Reading through some of the Amazon reviews, you’ll see some people leaving recipes for cooking steaks and other foods with the Uuni 3.
Here’s a good, user recommended pizza book to check out on Amazon. Peter Reinhart’s “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza”
The cleaning is easy really. Wipe the housing down with a rag once it’s cooled off. Dump out the pellet tray when the pellets are burned to ash.
Tip: Treat the cooking stone with care. Let it cool completely if you plan on cleaning it. Don’t stick it under cold water when hot or it could crack. If you’re going to wash it, use warm water only. The stone is porous so don’t use detergent or soap. It could absorb the liquid leaving a bad taste.
But know that it’s not required that you wash it. Most users just brush or scrape off the loose burnt stuff. Then let the high heat burn anything else off. The Pizzacraft Pizza Stone Brush is a good brush to use:
We’re talking about cooking here, so you can bet there are a bunch of little things to make the food better tasting and easier to make.
Use a thin crust for your pie. Here’s a good pizza dough recipe to start out with from the New York Times.
Go easy on the toppings as they won’t cook as fast as the dough. This is typical of outdoor pizza ovens. You can lift the pizza up toward the oven roof with the peel to take advantage of the flame to do further cooking. Not too long though, it could burn the top.
Turn the pie every 30 seconds or so to cook it evenly. Keep the door closed as the pie is cooking to keep temps up. If you follow the recommendation of letting the pellets burn down, you may find you will need to rotate less often. Remember to experiment to find your time.
Use corn meal on the peel to help the pizza slide off quickly onto the stone. Try not to use flour as it sometimes burns on or sticks.
Brush or scrape off the stone every 2nd or 3rd pizza to avoid any burnt taste.
Keep the oven closed when prepping pies in between. This helps keep the internal temperature up.
If you’re making batches of pizza and you need to add pellets because they’re low, fill up the hopper and then let them burn down part way again.
Because it’s wood fired, make sure you have plenty of clearance around the Uuni.
Wear heatproof gloves when handling the pellet box.
Keep the oven out of the wind for better cooking results.
Turn that pizza every 30 seconds.
The Uuni 3 comes with a one-year warranty covered by the manufacturer. They can be contacted here:
Register your Uuni 3 here: https://docs.google.com/a/uuni.net/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdz4bOQ5i5JSuxuPixVboCtSNFvsPdVc6IirG7L5OG60PP3EA/viewform?entry.1489379612&entry.966239644&entry.826618591&entry.1191328874&entry.1518579288=Yes,+please
There is a 30 day return and refund policy as well. You can read about it here: https://uuni.net/pages/returns-and-refunds
Make certain you don’t have anything flammable around the pizza oven. The whole box, including the chimney, get extremely hot. You will also occasionally get flame coming out of the chimney and the pellet box if the wind is blowing through the open door.
Don’t move the Uuni 3 oven until it’s completely cooled down.
Uuni 3 Pizza Oven
We suggest you invest in the following Amazon Best-Selling tools to make life with your pizza oven a little easier and cleaner.
This will give you little more control when you’re spinning the pizza. You’ll be less apt to burn yourself and it will make it a simple thing to slide the pizza in the oven. It also helps when you rotate the pizza so that it will bake evenly.
To keep track of the temperature of the pizza stone, the Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer does a great job. It measures up to 1022°F letting you stand a bit back from the oven. It’s the #1 Best-seller on Amazon.
For faster lighting of the pellets, the Pro Plus torch from Iwatani is a good performer. You can adjust the flame shape and strength for extra control. The flame trigger allows one handed control and makes lighting and extinguishing the flame safe and easy.
Keep your hands safe with a pair of Bluefire Pro heat resistant gloves. They’re certified to withstand heat up to 932°F. They give forearm protection too. Just in our ballpark, right?
The Uuni 3 Cover/Bag will cover the Uuni 3 while the chimney is attached. Great if you need to leave it outdoors but want it to be protected.
Turn it into a convenient carry bag by pulling the chimney cover through the bag. Flip the bag over. Remove the chimney and front door and stow them with the oven in the bag. Pull the handles together and you’re Uuni and you are ready to go.
Then, when it comes to cooking other foods, here are a couple of useful pans that will fit in the Uuni.
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Quarter Sheet
Lodge Logic Square Skillet
The Uuni 3 pizza oven can be found at larger BBQ and outdoor cooking stores and sporting goods stores. It’s also available here directly from the manufacturer at Amazon. You can take advantage of Amazon’s great customer service as well as FREE shipping. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, get FREE 2-day shipping.
A quick, easy and fun change to your standard outdoor cooking, the Uuni 3 is a sure crowd pleaser. It’s not light weight, but making pizzas in 60 seconds makes you forget all about that. It’s easy to take apart if you want to pack up and go. This would make a great gift – either for you or a loved one who thinks cooking outdoors is the only way to go. If you love the outdoors and pizza, the Uuni 3 Pizza Oven is serious and delicious fun for all.
If you think it’s not the right choice for you, check out our full selection of outdoor pizza oven by clicking here.
Patio party coming up? How about making it a pizza patio party?
Now we’re talking. Combine the best combination of good friends, good food and a great location and you’re going to create some lasting memories.
How would you like to do this without spending a fortune on building a special installation in your backyard or on the patio?
Even better, how about something that you could take camping, tailgating, even to the beach?
Read on, because our Camp Chef Italian Artisan Pizza Oven review might just be your ticket.
The Camp Chef is a portable pizza oven that bakes artisan-style pizza in as little as 3 minutes.
The Camp Chef pizza oven can do this because it heats in as little as 15 minutes to the desired 600° to 700° temperature. Slide your pie in the oven, close the door, and 3 to 7 minutes later you’ll be enjoying that delicious, sizzling, mouthwatering pizza.
Not a pizza dough swirling pro?
No worries, it’s as easy as store-bought pizza sauce and dough or pizza from a take and bake place – even frozen works. But, if you feel like trying your hand at it, go ahead and use any specialized pizza dough and sauce.
Then pack it up and take it camping or to the beach, it’s that versatile.
If you’re a pizza aficionado, this is a unit that you’ll want to check out.
Let’s do just that…
No smoky flavor
Somewhat uneven heating
Oven doesn’t get to highest temps with bottle propane
Easy to assemble
Front cover not hinged
Electronic ignition gets The Camp Chef Italia started quickly. The oven gets up to temperature in as little as 15 minutes. You control the temperature by using the micro adjust gas burner that is situated below the pizza stone.
The stone is a 13.5” by 20” piece of Cordierite ceramic. It’s the same material used in kilns so you can be assured that it’s more than ready to take the heat.
The burner heats up the stone while the gap around the stone allows hot air to move up and heat the oven dome.
The oven mimics a wood-fired brick oven by contact cooking the pizza dough on the stone while cooking the pizza toppings with convection heat via the double walled stainless-steel dome.
But, no smoky wood flavor. Here’s why…
The oven runs on propane and is ready to accept gas from two sources. For portability, you can use the easily found 1-pound disposable bottles.
Or you can use the supplied 5-foot hose with regulator to connect to a standard bulk propane tank.
So, no woodchips, pellets or wood chunks to fuss with — that’s why no smoky flavor — and no ashes to spill all over your patio, campsite, or beach site.
Be aware, some users have said that you’re not able to get the highest temperatures with the disposable bottles.
Not a problem, you’ll just need to vary the type of pizza you’re going to make. You can still cook at lower temperatures, though it may take a minute or so longer.
That’s a common question many users ask. The Camp Chef pizza oven isn’t made to run on natural gas. Currently, there isn’t a connector or adapter available from the manufacturer to allow natural gas use.
A couple of notes to keep in mind:
The Camp Chef is meant to be used outdoors only.
Be certain to read the instructions on disconnecting the gas supply when the oven is not in use.
Ok, the electronic ignition makes it fast starting, we know it’s fast heating so…
You can make one 12-inch or two 10-inch pies at a time. So, figure about 10 minutes on the high side between batches. This is because every time the door is opened, heat escapes and the oven must come back to temp.
Not a big issue because the stone holds heat for a long time. It’s the air that needs to be reheated and that happens quickly.
TIP: If you prep your pizzas ahead of time, the process will be a lot faster. Be sure to keep the oven door closed even when not cooking to keep those temperatures up.
Another common question, but officially, no, the unit isn’t intended for commercial use. However, there are some pizza restaurant owners who have used the Camp Chef Italia pizza oven at open-air events. They’ve reported good results after a little practice and experimenting with time and ingredients.
Here are the measurements and weight if you’re going to be moving it around:
Speaking of practice and experimenting:
You can bake bread, calzones, cookies and other smallish baked goods. And that’s not all, you can cook chicken and fish, even roast meats.
The truth of the matter is, if you can fit the food through the opening, you can probably cook it in the Italia pizza oven.
Once the baking is done, it’s time for cleanup. Keep reading for good news there.
The body of the oven is easy to clean, just wipe down the inside and outside with a damp cloth. Before cleaning the stone, make sure it has completely cooled. You risk cracking the stone if it’s still hot.
Clean the stone by rinsing in water, but don’t soak it or use detergent. The stone is porous and will absorb water and soap. Scrape off any burnt-on residue like cheese or other toppings. Drips can be wiped up with warm water.
The stone will darken as it seasons. That’s something that you want to happen so don’t try to wash it off.
Alright, those are the basics, so, ready for some secrets?
Proper air and stone temperature is the secret. The trick is to get the air temperature to around 700° so that the toppings will be properly cooked while keeping the stone at around 550° to avoid burning the crust but still make it crispy.
The built-in thermometer in the Camp Chef oven top does a good job of measuring the air temperature — so no trick there.
For the stone temp, a good quality infrared thermometer comes in handy. You can measure several spots on the stone to judge overall temperature.
This is especially important if you’re going to be making more than one or two pizzas and need to keep opening and closing the door.
The high air heat and properly heated stone make this pizza oven a standout. Plus, like we said, it does this quickly, in as little as 15 minutes and you’re ready to start baking.
The heat is fully adjustable letting you cook many different types of pizza as well as other foods. The ceramic stone then pulls the outer moisture off the dough for crispness. This ensures that you get a perfect crust while the inside stays fluffy and moist.
Measure the stone heat separately to make sure you’ve got the right baking temperature. You want the stone to be at 500° to 550°. The air temperature needs to be higher – 650° to 700° – to cook the top.
For thin cracker style crust, bake at a low to med temperature to prevent burning. You will need to adjust the overall pre-heat to a half hour or so.
Use room temperature ingredients and dough. If you use frozen, thaw completely.
If making the dough that’s noted in the instructions, let it proof for 48 hours.
Go easy on the toppings as they may not cook quickly enough if piled too high. Also avoid too many high moisture toppings.
Use fine cornmeal on the peel to make it easy to slide the pie into the oven.
Spin the pizza 180° at least once in the first 90-120 seconds. Pop large bubbles so they don’t burn. Keep turning as needed to evenly cook.
If the crust is cooked but the top isn’t quite done, use your metal (not wooden) peel and lift the pie up near the top of the oven. The hot air will finish the cooking while keeping the crust just the way you want it.
The pizza oven is meant to be used outdoors, so don’t use it in an enclosed space. For example, don’t use it indoors, in a camper, or in an RV.
If you’re going to leave it outside, keep it covered. Camp Chef has a custom cover called the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Protective Cover. You can find it on Amazon.
The portable pizza oven can sit on any solid flat surface but if you prefer a cart, Seville Classics makes one that has a shelf for a separate propane canister that you can find on Amazon.
When you’re done baking, make sure the gas is off as directed in the instructions.
Camp Chef has a one-year warranty on the stove and components. This doesn’t include paint or finish. Be sure to activate the warranty by registering online here:
For more information or to file a warranty request go here:
The gauge shows the temperature of the air inside but doesn’t give you the temperature of the stone. Take that in to account when baking as the stone could be quite a bit hotter than you think and burn the bottom of the pie.
Avoid extreme temperature changes to the stone. Don’t place frozen foods on a hot stone as it could crack.
Use oven mitts or gloves when handling the cooking stone and any other hot parts like the front cover.
It’s safe to use outside as that’s Camp Chef’s intended purpose for the oven. Remember to use standard fire safety when cooking outside. A fire extinguisher is a good idea to have handy.
We suggest you invest in the following Amazon Best-Selling tools to make life with your pizza oven a little easier and cleaner.
A peel or spatula like the Kitchen Supply aluminum peel or the Camp Chef Professional Pizza Spatula will make it a simple thing to slide the pizza in the oven. It also helps when you rotate the pizza so that it will bake evenly.
The Janico Pizza Oven Stone Brush is a good stiff bristle brush that helps remove the debris on the stone.
To keep track of the temperature of the pizza stone, the Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer does a great job.
The Camp Chef Italia Artisan Oven can be purchased at larger outdoor and home supply stores as well as larger sporting goods stores.
We recommend you purchase it here at Amazon. You can take advantage of their top-notch customer support, easy to use return policy and free Standard shipping. And, if you’re an Amazon Prime Member, you can get FREE 2-day shipping.
Camp Chef Pizza Oven
Our conclusion is that the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven would make a great backyard, camping or all-around outdoor propane powered pizza oven. It fits smaller patios and it’s portable. It’s easy to set up on a picnic table or grill stand and you can be cooking in 15 minutes.
It stands out to us for its versatility in baking other foods too. It’s not a one hit wonder.
You can find our complete selection of outdoor pizza ovens here.
Is there anything more enjoyable than sitting around a fire with friends?
According to anthropologists, fire played a significant part in our evolutionary history and was probably central to the socialization of the human species.
Moreover, Christopher Lynn has discovered that campfires lower blood pressure
So this is official. Campfires are good for you!
Unfortunately, campfires can be a messy affair. Thankfully, we now have more civilized ways to enjoy sitting around a fire pit. Some of the modern outdoor fire pitswill give you a smokeless and hassle free experience. At the push of a button.
Isn’t progress a great thing?
A fire pit is the easiest way to add instant style to your patio but choosing the right one can be difficult. We selected the best backyard fire pits for this fall and here’s our result:
#1: Outland Fire Table
#2: Heininger 5995
#3: Landmann 26364
#4: Best Choice Stone
#5: Solo Stove Bonfire
On to the reviews…
First in our selection is this resin wicker fire pit table by Outland Living. Not surprisingly, it’s also the Amazon #1 Best Seller.
We love the beautiful design, but we also appreciate how practical it is.
The 20 lbs propane tank – which is not included – is concealed inside the table. That means you won’t have to add an awkward piece of furniture to hide the tank, saving you space and money.
The 35,000 BTU will give you 12 to 16 hours of a clean and smokeless flame.
You can light this thing effortlessly and adjust the flame height with the control button.
The usual selling price is about $600 although Amazon proposes discounts regularly. It’s not cheap, but the high-quality makes it worth it.
You can’t get any classier than this!
Our second selection is the Heininger 5995. It’s more modest than the fire table above but has plenty going for it!
For a start, it’s small and lightweight and can be carried around as needed. Which means you can take it with you when you go camping or tailgating. A carry bag will cost you around $30.
The fire bowl is from Outland, so you get the best quality at the best price.
We love that it’s easy to use and has an excellent visual appeal.
The customers’ reviews are good with 4.7 stars out of 5.
A nice small smokeless fire pit. At less than $150, it’s a great choice for anyone who is looking for something portable and hassle-free.
Another good option is the Landmann 26364.
It has an attractive design and gives an incredible ambience at night.
It has a large 23.5-in fire bowl which will provide plenty of heat.
It’s fueled by wood so ideally, you will need to keep a wood rack nearby.
It’s easy to assemble, and you should be able to do it in about 10 minutes.
This fire pit is perfect for small backyard and costs less than $100.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further!
Want a stone fire pit but don’t want a permanent structure?
Best Choice has released just that!
This elegant small natural stone design is fueled by gas and is ignited at the touch of a button for ultimate comfort. It’s like having a campfire in your backyard without the hassle of a campfire!
Note that the tank is not included and you will need extra space to accommodate it. Your best option is to get a hideaway table if you don’t already have one. It will come handy as it doubles as a side table.
It usually sells for about $350, but there was a massive $180 discount on Amazon at the time of writing.
It’s a great addition to a small traditional patio that will surely impress your friends!
Our last selection is the Solo Stove Bonfire.
It’s a modern stainless steel fire pit which is slowly revolutionizing campfire.
Although it looks very plain on the outside, it hides a unique airflow system on the inside.
Not only the SoloStove gives almost no smoke, but it also burns the firewood logs more efficiently.
That means you will need less wood than a traditional fire pit.
The Solo Stove Bonfire is lightweight and can be carried easily anywhere you wish. It comes with a carry case. It’s the ultimate portable fire pit.
It’s effortless to use, and the minimalistic design means it will fit in any kind of yard.
The recommended selling price is $350, so it’s a bit of an investment. If you keep in mind that this product is built to last, will save you money on firewood and comes with the carry case, you’ll see that the price is entirely justified.
We think the Solo Stove is the future of fire pits and is a great option if you want to take your campfire to the next level!
There are a lot of fire pits out there and choosing only five was not easy.
We tried our best to provide options that will fit into most people’s requirements and budget, and we hope you’ll find what you were looking for.
The prices start at $90 all the way to $600, so you can find one that fits your budget. Fire pits don’t have to be expensive.
You will have to take into consideration the size of your patio and to decide whether you prefer a gas or a wood-fueled fire pit.
A firewood pit will give you a more authentic experience but comes with some hassle. A gas fire pit will provide you with a smokeless and hassle-free experience, which, in this time and age, is the favorite option for most people.
Whichever option you choose, your fire pit will be highly appreciated by your guests. And of course, you will be able to use your patio longer, long after the end of summer.
And who doesn’t want to do that?
Let’s talk about a love/hate relationship. Yep, something that’s traumatic to many. Of course, I’m talking about a leaf blower. Everyone’s favorite tool to hate.
That is, until they use one to move a huge pile of leaves and debris and turn a 4 hour job into one that’s a little over an hour.
Then, with a big smile, it’s off to fire up the barbecue on that nice clean deck or backyard…
Quick NavigationWhy Use a Leaf Blower?Can I Complete Any Other Jobs with One?Which Leaf Blower Should I Buy?Gas Powered:Electric Powered:#1: Worx WG505 TrivacPROSCONS#2: GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40VPROSCONS#3: WORX 32-Volt AIR Multi-Purpose Blower/Sweeper/Cleaner with 120 MPH / 80 CFM Output, 4 lb. Weight, with 8 Attachments – WG575.1PROSCONS#4: Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf BlowerPROSCONSWhich Electric Leaf Blower Is Best?Which Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Is Best?Top 10 Leaf Blower Buying Tips:5 Tips About Using Power Tools:Your Cordless Leaf Blower’s Battery Life
A blower is a lot easier to use than a broom or a rake when you’ve got a huge amount of leaves or debris to move. Even a lower power blower is a handy tool to use when you just need to clean off a small deck or patio area.
Or your garage…
Depending on what you buy, you can also get an all-in-one unit that allows you to do mulching and vacuuming. If you’ve got a garden, the mulching feature is something you’ll get a lot of use out of.
We review a unit that inflates and deflates toys and such as well.
You’ve got 2 power types and 2 styles each of blowers to look at. As you might expect, one will be particularly useful for one job, but another is better suited to another task.
It’s not uncommon for some people to have a lower power electric blower to use as a broom replacement working alongside a higher powered gas model for those big jobs.
The 2 types of blowers are:
The gas powered models are offered in 2 handling types as well. The more powerful units are offered in a backpack version and the slightly lower power versions come in a more compact handheld version.
Let’s briefly talk about the 2 types of blowers, and then we’ll head on into a review of our 4 top blowers.
Gas power blowers tend to be a more powerful. They generally come with variable power switches and can be dialed up to move large amounts of leaves or debris. Then, dial them down to work around areas like flower beds and gravel.
Because there’s no cord, it means you’re free to roam and can cover a large area. Gas power means you can run for as long as you want because it’s easy and quick to refuel.
There’s no need to worry about running out of battery power in 30 minutes. Or having too short an extension cord.
Gas blowers are loud, though some have much better mufflers and can keep the noise down. There are some models that say you can work without ear protection. May be so, but we don’t recommend it.
On average, gas powered units have poor mulching and vacuuming ability. Most gas units don’t have the extra attachments available to do those jobs.
Gas powered units come in 2 choices: 2-cycle or 4 stroke.
The 2-cycle models need to have the oil mixed with the gas in order to keep the engine lubricated. We recommend buying it premixed to get the ratio right. This is because it could help you with warranty service wrangling down the road.
Oil/gas pre-mixing isn’t necessary with the 4 stroke units. There’s a separate oil reservoir that you need to make sure is filled properly every time you use the unit. The 4 stroke models tend to be a little heavier yet they are more efficient when it comes to gas use and emissions.
Gas blowers can be heavier, so consider a backpack unit if your jobs are going to be a big ones. Gas powered units also have the highest speed and air output.
Jobs best suited for:
· When you have a large area and a lot of leaves or debris.
· You’re dealing with wet or heavy leaves, stubborn dirt and debris.
Though electric blowers tend to be a little less powerful than gas powered units, many models are lighter and easier to handhold. This has the advantage of being useful to a person who isn’t particularly strong.
Most upper end units also have variable power control to lower the power to work around flower and plant beds or dial it up for the really big jobs.
Electrics are easier to start; you just plug them in and turn them on. They’re more environmentally friendly than gas and are emission free.
Electric power units are quieter. Maybe not so much when you’re standing right next to them, but at 50 yards, they are much better. They should meet or exceed city noise ordinances.
One big disadvantage with a corded model is that the cord limits you to how far you can go. You want to give some thought to how easily you can access an outlet.
Upper end electric blowers have better mulching and vacuuming ability and most come with the appropriate attachments. For those that don’t, they can be easily purchased.
Corded models, in the upper ranges, have high air speeds and airflows. Some are comparable to some of the gas powered units.
Cordless models are light and portable. A disadvantage to them is that you need to keep an eye on the battery. Working time can be shorter than the job requires.
There is no good way to accurately judge working time as it all depends on how much blower power you’re using and whether you’re vacuuming, blowing, or mulching. We recommend that you consider an extra battery if a cordless is your choice.
Cordless models also tend to have lower output velocities (CFM).
A big plus: An electric engine is maintenance free, no worries about oil mixing or gas.
Jobs best suited for:
· When you need something light and easy to carry.
· When you need a quieter unit but you still need power.
· When you don’t want to bother with gas or oil.
Before we get into the reviews, let’s define a couple of terms just to make it easier to understand.
MPH is how fast the air is traveling out of the tube. This is determined by the shape of the nozzle at the end. A narrow opening equals higher MPH.
CFM is how much air is being moved through the tube. The wider the tube, the higher the CFM.
Don’t led astray by high MPH values, because that can change, as noted above, by the shape of the nozzle at the end. What’s more important is the CFM, because a higher volume of air is what really pushes the leaves and debris.
Decibel rating is how loud something is at 50 feet from the item. So, the leaf blower may sound pretty loud when you’re holding it, but it might not be so loud at 50 or more feet away.
If you’re wondering where to buy a leaf blower, we suggest Amazon for pricing, great customer service and outstanding return policy. Each review below has a link to the appropriate model on Amazon’s site.
The Worx WG505 TriVac is a light weight 120V corded electric leaf blower with a 12 amp motor. It’s an all in one design – you get a blower, mulcher and vacuum all at the flip of a switch. There are no tubes to change or tools to use so it makes moving between jobs simple and fast.
The Worx uses a heavy duty metal impeller which combines a long life with powerful 10:1 mulching ability. That means two important things
1. No need to worry about pebbles or other hard objects damaging the impeller.
2. There’s power to reduce 100 gallons of leaves to one 10 gallon bag in no time.
The Worx WG505 puts out 350 CFM of air at 210 mph. The air flow speed is regulated by a thumbwheel – down to 75 mph – making it easy to use around delicate plants and when you want to keep the dust down.
Though there should be more than enough blow to push wet leaves and debris where you want it, a few users have said they feel it’s not very powerful as a blower. But they give it high marks for working well as a vacuum and mulcher.
A collector bag comes with the WG505 that is easy to empty though it is somewhat small at 10 gallons. We suggest getting the WORX WA0030 Landscaping 26-Gallon Spring Bucket Yard Bag. You can then drag it behind you and work a longer stretch without emptying the bag so often.
Cleaning the TriVac is easy—just open the impeller housing to reach inside to clear out clogs. Make sure the unit is unplugged while doing this.
The well-made handle makes it very comfortable to use with good balance. The angled nose on the tube makes it easy to get underneath items like patio furniture or cars.
The WORX WG505 TriVac electric leaf blower gets 3.8 out of 5 Stars on Amazon. It comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty
If you need an electric unit that gives you a little more freedom to roam, then the battery-operated GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40V might be the answer.
The GreenWorks is a variable speed cordless leaf blower and vacuum that uses a brushless motor. According to the manufacturer, this gives the motor an 80% longer lifespan as well as creating less noise and vibration.
It has a plastic impeller so it’s only meant for leaves and light debris. Anything like pebbles or other hard objects could damage or break the impeller.
The G-Max is powered by a 40V 4AH battery that gives it up to 60 minutes run time per charge. The manufacturer says this equals about 4.5 bags of trash or leaves. The 4 AH battery charges in about 120 minutes.
A battery’s lasting power will depend on whether you use the unit on full power, low power, or somewhere in between. Most users have gotten usage between 20 and 45 minutes.
If you figure you’re going to be moving back-and-forth between full and low power, expect your battery power to be similar. If you need more time, consider buying an extra battery.
The GreenWorks G-Max is very quick and easy to operate. Just snap in the battery, press the power button and away you go.
Note: If you find that the unit won’t turn on, check the safety switch on the gate first:
As a safety precaution, there’s a safety switch on the gate. If, for some reason, it becomes unlatched, it won’t allow the unit to turn on.
The GreenWorks 24322 has a variable speed dial that allows you to turn the airspeed and volume down when you’re working around delicate plants or shrubs. It also helps conserve the battery power when using at the lower speed. When on Turbo mode, battery life is about half as normal.
The unit can be changed from blower to vacuum in seconds via the gate on the bottom. Open the gate and insert the collection tube to enable the vacuum function.
The G-Max gives you 10 to 1 mulching capability to make short work that pile of leaves.
The GreenWorks 24322 G-MAX 40V get 3.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon. It has a four year warranty on the tool and a two year warranty on the battery. Both are covered by the manufacturer.
Looking for something a little lighter to do a little touchup or easy cleanup around the house or garage? The WORX WG 575.1 is quiet, light weight and easy to use. It comes with 8 attachments to help around the house.
Coming in at 4 pounds, the WG575.1 makes a perfect broom replacement. It’s powered by a 32V 2.0 Ah lithium ion battery that provides a relatively long run time for this size of blower.
The runtime can be up to 20 minutes or more depending on the attachment you use and it recharges in as little as three hours.
It’s not as powerful as the other units in this review, but it’s perfect for quick cleanup of small yards, patios, and sidewalks. It will easily clear grass clippings, dry leaves and light debris. Several users have said that it’s perfect for around flower pots and deck decorations.
It’s probably best to think of this unit as a broom replacement or a softer blowing second tool to accompany your more powerful blower. The large selection of accessories makes the WG575.1 flexible.
And, because it’s so light and compact, you can use it just about anywhere. Pack it in your RV, boat, or a car whenever you travel. It’ll be extremely handy when it comes to inflating rafts, mattresses, or toys. The deflator attachment will be handy when it’s time to pack up the toys and head home.
When you receive the unit, the battery pack will be uncharged or it may have a partial charge. Don’t use it until you’ve given it a full 12 hour charge. The charger unit that comes with it is matched to the battery, so don’t use a different charger. The light on the charger wall plug will turn green while the battery is charging. Once the green light goes off, the battery is fully charged.
The WORX WG 575.1 comes with a three year manufacturer warranty provided you register the tool within 30 days. If you don’t, the warranty is only for 24 months. The battery and charger are guaranteed for 12 months regardless of registration.
This is strictly a blower or inflating tool. There is no option to turn it into a vacuum tool or do any mulching. It would make a great companion to one of the other units in this review.
In the package: the blower, eight attachments, battery, and charger.
Attachments: long tube, dust brush, short tube, extension hose, dust nozzle, detail brush, wide nozzle, inflator nozzle, accessory bag and deflator cover.
Suggested additional items to purchase are a second battery and the Universal Fit Gutter Cleaning Kit.
The WORX 32-Volt WG575.1 gets 4.1 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Need some real power to clear out heavy debris? Want to finish that huge job faster and in more comfort? The Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower throws out a whopping 441 CFM of air to push the most stubborn stuff around.
The 23.9 cc Commercial grade 2-stroke engine is comfortable and low vibration. It’s lightweight with only 8.6 lbs, making it very comfortable to work with for long periods. You can also buy a shoulder strap for added comfort of use.
The RB24EAP is a gas leaf blower running on regular unleaded gasoline. Note that it shouldn’t be used with Ethanol. It’s low emission, fuel-efficient, and is CARB compliant. It is a 2–Cycle motor meaning you have to mix oil in with your fuel. The recommended mixture is 50:1 fuel to oil using two cycle oil.
The Hitachi also features a large 2-finger throttle lever which makes it easy to use. When the unit is turned off, the stop switch will automatically reset to the on position for easier starting the next time.
You can purchase the oil separately and mix it yourself, or you can buy cans of the oil/fuel premix for convenience.
• Can be difficult to start
• Can’t be used with Ethanol
• Sometimes difficult working with warranty repair stations
• No vacuum or mulch kit option available
It comes with a seven-year manufacturer’s warranty which is the best warranty in the industry.
The Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower gets 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. And don’t forget the gas and the oil.
We think the WORX WG505 Trivac is the best deal in an electric leaf blower because of its metal impeller and higher volume output. If you’re looking for a “broom replacement” blower, the WORX WG575.1 is a light and compact choice for small jobs and touch ups.
If you need power and a long running time, the Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Leaf Blower is going to be your best bet. The fuel tank will last a long time and it’s sufficiently lightweight to make it comfortable to use.
And the 23.9 cc engine pumps out 441 CFM of air to move the toughest pile of leaves. You’ll get the job done, quicker.
1. Pay attention to the nozzle. A flatter nozzle makes sweeping easier while rounder, more open ones make loosening debris a lot easier. Rounder nozzles also vacuum more efficiently.
2. The heavier the leaf or debris you need to move, the more CFM you’re going to need. A rounder nozzle helps here.
3. If you need to be careful around areas like flower beds or mulch, look for blowers that let you adjust the air speeds.
4. Look for a bottom mounted air intake because the side intakes can get blocked by your clothing.
5. On gas models look for a primer bulb for easier starting. Also look for a clear gas tank so you can keep an eye on fuel consumption.
6. Try them out before buying. Check for balance in your hand as well as a second grip for additional control.
7. Look for an easy to get to shut off switch for safety.
8. Plastic impellers and blades get damaged and break if you often vacuum up pebbles or other hard objects. Look for metal impellers if you work around gravel.
9. Consider a backpack unit if the job will last longer than an hour. Check the harness for comfort and vibration damping.
10. Check local ordinances for noise standards and restrictions. Compare this to the dB rating of the blower.
1. Don’t use corded or cordless electrical tools in wet or damp conditions.
2. Keep kids and pets away from any power tool especially when they’re in use.
3. Store gas and oil in a well ventilated area away from flame or heat.
4. Wear safety equipment like safety glasses, ear protection, sturdy footwear, and gloves. Don’t forget to keep your arms and legs covered as well.
5. If you’re using an extension cord, keep these things in mind:
· Use only an outdoor use rated extension cord.
· Be sure the cord is in good condition. Check for cracks and exposed wire.
· Use a polarized plug. Don’t clip off the grounding prong.
· Plug it into a GFCI receptacle.
· Disconnect it from the outlet or remove the battery when the tool is not in use.
· Keep your feet and hands away from moving parts when the tool is running.
A couple of notes if you’re buying a battery-powered blower. Most of these units use a lithium-ion battery that will sometimes come with a partial charge. Don’t use them with this pa8tial storage charge. Instead, charge the battery for a full 12 hours before using it the first time.
Otherwise, you risk the battery failing in a very short period of time. This is a pretty common complaint on most online sites.
Don’t completely drain a lithium-ion battery and then charge it either. It’s better for the battery to still have some juice in it when you charge it.
Some batteries will have an automatic shut off that will prevent you from deep discharging the battery by continually turning it on and off to get the last little bit of juice. This is on purpose so that you don’t accidentally destroy the battery life.
Buying a leaf blower is a small upfront investment that will save you a lot of time in the long run.
If you have a lot of trees in your backyard, you shouldn’t hesitate to get one.
In any case, a leaf blower is very useful to get your yard ready for winter.
Getting tired of babysitting your water sprinkler system? It gets a little tiresome to always have to pay attention to your sprinklers, particularly in these dry times we’ve been having.
There’s an easier way to handle this while taking advantage of local weather conditions to get more accurate watering. And lower water usage bills.
In this article, we’re going to review three popular Wifi sprinkler controllers. These units will allow you to control your system over your smart phone, a tablet or even your PC.
What better way to control your system rather than having to continually head to the garage, crawl under the porch or head down into the basement?
Quick NavigationBest sprinkler Controller Ratings:What Is a Sprinkler Controller?Is It Easy to Install?Do They Work If the Power Goes Down?Why Install a Drip Irrigation System?Is the Controller All You Have to Purchase or Do You Have to Buy All New Sprinkler Head?How Strong Must the Wi-Fi Signal Be at the Controller?#1: Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller – Gen. 2 #2: RainMachine Touch HD-12#3: Orbit 57950 B-Hyve SmartWhat Unit Do We Think Is Best Sprinkler Controller?
#1: Rachio Smart
#2: RainMachine HD-12
#3: Orbit B-hyve
A sprinkler controller is a device that allows you to program and automatically run the water sprinkler system at your home. You’re able to choose particular times and areas of your yard to get watering.
On the market today are two types. The old manual style that’s been around for years and a newer model that uses Wi-Fi and your home network for remote control.
The units in this review are all easy to install. It’s just a matter of drilling the holes for the mounting screws, mounting the unit and connecting the wires.
It should be noted though that some are little easier to mount than others and some have better instructions and templates to help make a more secure mount.
You can choose an expert installation from as little as $100.
The units have a battery backup that will help keep the settings that you’ve programmed in. However, without power, your sprinkler system won’t run.
Drip irrigation gives you an easy way to control the amount of water that goes on smaller areas and avoids the problem of flooding.
A drip irrigation system is ideal if you’re watering smaller areas like gardens, flowerbeds, container plants, trees, or groundcover. It’s especially good for desert landscaping.
The wireless sprinkler controller is all you need to connect to your system. If you are mounting outside, two of the units below will need an optional outdoor box.
Strong enough to let the sprinkler controller communicate with your network. So, the closer the controller can be to the wireless source the better.
Next, take into consideration how many walls and other obstructions the signal has to pass through. The fewer the better.
How many other devices are operating on the same 2.4 GHz channel? If you have more than a couple, the interference may be too great for the outdoor mounted controller.
A Wi-Fi extender boosts the signal and will help with the above issues. They’re available at Amazon right here.
Note: these controllers all communicate on the 2.4 GHz band. If you’re running a 5 GHz home network, they won’t work.
A couple of the manufacturers have suggested setting up a guest network on an available 2.4 GHz band.
Onward with the reviews…
The Rachio unit is a good-looking unit and the body is pretty solid. It is available in both 8 zone and 16 zone configurations. Using WaterSense technology, it’s designed to help make yard watering easy and a lot less expensive.
Let’s take a closer look in this Rachio mini review.
· WaterSense technology
· Smartphone app allows you to control it from anywhere
· Works with Amazon’s Alexa giving you voice control over your watering system
· Operates with or without a WiFi signal
· Control box connections might be too small for wire gauge
· Hanger type mounting
· No API if one prefers to create their own app. No IFTTT integration
The Rachio is EPA WaterSense Certified and you could get a rebate if your county or city is eligible and the water company is participating.
It has five predrilled screw holes for mounting. One reviewer used the two center holes and felt it made for a pretty solid installation. Others used all 5 holes without problem.
The Rachio is not waterproof or water resistant but you can buy an outside enclosure. This is the one made by Rachio and it’s available on Amazon.
Installation is generally pretty quick like the two smart water controllers reviewed above. They have a lot of similarities except for one big one.
The wiring comes in from behind on the Rachio rather than the front. So make sure to take this into account when you plan out the mounting location.
Also be aware, some readers say that the wires are little tough to get attached to the connection block. It tends to be a little stiff and you need to use a screwdriver (and a little force) on the slot to get it to open.
The setup of the Rachio smart controller is pretty easy as well. It does require that you have your smart phone available with the app installed. This is so you can hook up to the smart controller then connect to the wireless network.
Once you’ve got that connectivity set up, it’s just a matter of choosing each zone and entering in the rest of the information about your yard.
It’s this information coupled with the weather information that helps make the Rachio so effective.
The Rachio also allows you to find a local personal weather station rather than relying on the NOAA. This way you can get more accurate microclimate weather conditions.
Check how to install and set it up here:
When you’re doing the initial setup of the Rachio on your smart phone, it will take you through each of the zones of your yard and ask pertinent questions for each zone.
It will ask about soil type, what you’ve got growing, slope and several other items. This customization really helps to make it more accurate when it combines with weather sensing ability.
Rachio also offers an open API that you can use to create your own watering application. Though most users find the current application to be pretty useful and loaded with good information.
You also have service integration with a system called IFTTT. This allows you to create your own mini applets which are controlled by events.
For example, if it’s a cloudy day and you don’t want your Rachio to water, you can have the weather forecast trigger IFTTT which will then communicate with the Rachio and tell it to turn off watering for the day.
Or, if the temperature happens to get too hot, you can have that condition trigger IFTTT to communicate with the Rachio and turn on watering.
Rachio listened to their customers and integrated several new and desired features into the Generation 2:
· The wiring bay is larger to allow you to fit larger gauge wires.
· The unit itself is smaller.
· The Generation 2 is moved to a single plate design that allows for multi-meter testing.
· The connection protocol is different because an app is used to control the connection to your Wi-Fi.
· The ability to do some manual adjustments has been added.
The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Gen 2 is a great performer and easily integrates with multiple sources of weather information. It’s easy to install and set up with a responsive app.
1,186 users give the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller a 4.7 out of five star rating.
The Rachio is our number one choice because it will give you more for your money.
If you’re looking for a wifi sprinkler controller that looks as good as it works, the RainMachine Touch HD–12 is a perfect choice. Good looks and a lot of functionality are all bundled into a small package that’s easily installed and programmed.
In addition, the RainMachine is EPA WaterSense Certified which, if your city or county participates in the EPA program, can earn you a rebate on the cost of the unit. In addition, you can get more savings from the built-in smart watering that takes advantage of the weather services of the NOAA.
· Easy to install and program
· Easy to use app that allows you to connect from anywhere
· Open API if you’d like to create your own app
· EPA WaterSense Certified which may help you qualify for a rebate
· Bright 6.5 inch color touchscreen display
· Odd app uses off brand coloring
· No warning if you have overlapping schedules
The Touch HD-12 is EPA WaterSense Certified and you may be eligible for a rebate. Check with you city or county water department to see if they participate in the program.
The RainMachine comes with a small screwdriver and a handy hole template to help you with the install. As with most Wi-Fi units, it’s pretty easy to hook up to the current system wiring.
The unit can control up to 12 zones. It’s not expandable, so if you need more, you’ll want to consider a different controller.
The Touch HD-12 isn’t waterproof, but a user was able to mount it inside an Orbit lockbox. This makes it water resistant and lockable. The box can be found on Amazon by clicking here.
Installation is pretty easy, just line up your template where you want to hang the controller, mark the hole slots with a Sharpie, and then drill the screw holes. Once you get the Rain Machine mounted, it’s a simple matter to connect the wires because they connect from the front.
Once you get the mounting and wiring done, the setup and programming is pretty easy as well. Users have found the technology to be pretty intuitive. Follow the set up wizard to get it connected to your Wi-Fi network.
Since the Touch has a really responsive touchscreen, you can also do the set up and programming from the front screen. The screen is also convenient in case you’re caught outside without your phone.
Getting your watering schedule programmed was considered by most users to be a pretty easy task. If you had a zone that needed its own special schedule, you can set it up on its own program.
The Cycle and Soak selection will allow you to do multiple waterings in order to avoid water runoff. It works by taking a total number of watering minutes and dividing that up into a user-defined number of watering times.
The installation and set-up are explained here:
The smart phone app and the web app are very well-designed and deliver a lot of useful information. In addition, you’re able to control different RainMachine systems other than your own home system. This makes it pretty convenient if you’re in charge of different lawn areas.
There’s a bit of a geekiness factor to the RainMachine as well. If you’re into in technology at all, this might be of interest to you. The Rain Machine publishes a public API that a user could use to develop their own programming app.
Since some users felt the current app was dull and unappealing, they can easily create their own version.
The Rain Machine is a very attractive and well performing Wi-Fi sprinkler controller. It’s easy to install and set up with responsive apps or manually at the touchscreen.
Users find that it’s flexible too. It teams up with a drip irrigation system very well making it a great garden water timer. They give the Touch HD-12 a 4.5 out of five star rating with 615 reviews.
It only comes second because the price is higher than the Rachio but it’s a very close second.
#2: RainMachine Touch HD-12
Image Source: RainMachine.com
The Orbit 57950 B-Hyve Smart is an easily installed Wi-Fi enabled sprinkler controller. Mounted to a stud or wall, it quickly connects up to your currently installed water sprinkler system.
It comes in a locked, water resistant case which allows you to mount it outdoors as well.
It Is EPA WaterSense Certified and passes SWAT testing protocols. This helps it to qualify for rebates in participating water districts.
The Wi-Fi and timer controls allow you to access and control the timer either through your home network, your smart phone or tablet as well as be able to work with it manually at the controller.
· EPA WaterSense Certified
· Has an open API and IFTTT integrations
· Use other weather stations other than NOAA
· Ability to add rain, freeze and/or flow sensors
· Connects to Amazon Alexa, Nest and other home automation systems.
· Wiring is a little clumsy
· Flimsy plastic cover
· Not weather resistant or waterproof
EPA WaterSense and SWAT certification means if this unit qualifies for rebates in participating water districts. You might save up to 50% of the unit cost.
The Orbit water timer comes in a waterproof and lockable case for outdoor mounting. There are 3 different sized knockouts on the bottom to help with hardwiring. It comes with a small screw driver to help with attaching the wires to the control block.
It’s got a large, easy to read dial and can be controlled manually if necessary. The screen is a non-touch LCD type. The power cable is permanently connected to the power block inside.
The Orbit smart sprinkler timer integrates with what Orbit calls Catch Cup technology. This allows the timer or controller to give you much better scheduling and water control results.
It’s easy to install and hooks up to your current system pretty readily. One issue a user had was that the box used a hang screw arrangement. His concern was that it might break. But, there are two additional screw holes at the bottom of the case to use. This should help with stability.
The B-Hyve smart controller can be mounted either indoors or outdoors. To be able to close and lock the box, be sure to route the wires through one of the knockouts on the bottom of the controller box.
Setup is pretty easy and straight forward. Once the app is connected to the controller, follow the wizard to set up the zones. You can add a name and picture to each zone for easier identification. Then the wizard will ask you to enter characteristics of each zone. Once setup, you’re ready to run the program.
Make sure you enter in the correct zip code or postal code for your area. WaterSense technology uses NOAA local weather information to help forecast whether your sprinklers are going to be needing to come on are not.
Here’s how to install and set it up yourself:
The sprinkler controller can be accessed from anywhere when using the app. You can control several units at a time as well. Orbit doesn’t offer an API for personal app construction nor does it support IFTTT.
With Wi-Fi and timer control you’re able to control the Orbit irrigation system from your PC, tablet or your smart phone. You can also control this manually if you should happen to find yourself at the controller without your phone.
After some initial quirks when it first came out, Orbit has ironed out any issues with updates as needed.
This is one of the newest and least expensive Wi-Fi sprinkler controllers on the market. According to users, it does a good job. It gets an average 4.5 out of 5 stars out of 266 reviews.
#3: Orbit 57950 B-Hyve Smart
What’s really cool about the wireless Wi-Fi controllers is that you get a ton of information. You’ll get a lot of charts and graphs using the data that each of the controllers collects.
This is great for learning more about how to care for your lawn and garden. All of the units are easy to install and setup. They all get top ratings and user satisfaction.
Our choice is the Rachio Smart because it’s getting the best results for the price but the RainMachine Touch HD-12 is following very closely because of its touch screen control. This makes it easy if you need to allow someone else to change watering settings or if you don’t have your phone with you.
Ultimately, your choice will depend on your budget and whether you need a touch screen or not.