If you’re among the 75 percent of homeowners who water their lawn and garden with a garden hose or drip system, versus an in-ground sprinkler system, using a hose-based timer can help your garden thrive while saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment. Orbit makes our favorite hose-based sprinkler controller, the B-Hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer, and now it has introduced a second-generation of that product.
Like its predecessor, the B-Hyve XD Hose Faucet Timer features a Bluetooth radio that lets you program and control it with your smartphone. The most important feature on the new model is a display and user interface that lets you program and control the timer at the faucet, even if you don’t have your smartphone handy.
The B-Hyve XD also has a newer Bluetooth chip onboard that increases its range—up to 500 feet line of sight, according to Orbit—and that range becomes even longer if you add the second-generation B-Hyve Hub that acts as a Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi bridge for one or several of the timers.
The new hub will also control first-generation timers, so existing users will be able to use a mixture of both first- and second-gen products. The old hub, however, is not compatible with the new timers, so existing users adding a second-gen timer to their network will need to buy a new hub.
Orbit offers apps for both Android and iOS devices, with a “smart watering” feature that takes a wealth of details about your landscaping into account: The type of soil, the plants you’re watering, whether the garden is primarily in the sun or in the shade, the slope of the area where you’ve deployed your sprinklers, and more.
The new products don’t support Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, however, and they don’t have Thread radios onboard (you might want to consider the Eve Aqua hose-based watering timer if you’re looking for HomeKit and Thread support. That product is iOS only—there is no Android app available for it.). The B-Hyve XD operates on a pair of AA batteries, while the hub plugs into an AC outlet.
The second-gen timer is priced at $35 and the hub is $30; both are available now. Orbit says it will also introduce new models with two and three ports sometime in the third quarter. Each port can be independently programmed, so that you can irrigate disparate areas of your lawn and/or garden from a single hose bib. Prices for the multi-port versions have not been released.
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Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.