I’ve already used most of the Eve products that support HomeKit and Thread, however, the Eve Aqua is still on my list. This is the latest version of Eve’s smart sprinkler and watering product that costs $99.95. That’s a bit more than some other basic smart sprinklers, although you can easily spend hundreds of dollars for a robust multi-zone system.
After using the Eve Aqua for the past two weeks, I’m confident enough to say it’s worth the price if you have an Apple HomeKit smart home. Doubly so if you have a HomePod mini that acts as a Thread router.
Although I found a few minor issues, the Eve Aqua is super for automating sprinklers or hoses, keeps your usage data secure, and has a nifty weather integration to keep you from wasting water.
In the box, you get the Eve Aqua, a pair of AA batteries, and a hose adapter in case you need it.
Setup is your typical “scan and configure” approach with HomeKit: Using the Home app on an iOS device, you scan a QR code, choose where in the Home the device will be and that’s it. The setup process is done over Bluetooth and after two small firmware updates, the Eve Aqua automatically connected to my Thread network.
As a refresher, Thread is a mesh device-to-device protocol. A Thread Border Router, such as the HomePod mini, can move data from Thread devices to the cloud so you have remote access and control to the devices. There’s no need for a separate bridge, adapter, or WiFi radio inside most Thread devices based on the protocol.
Having said that, I of course left my home network after setup and tried to remotely turn the Eve Aqua on.
I know it worked even though I wasn’t home because my wife called and asked me if I left the hose on. I also know because the Eve app shows water data usage. You can specify the water flow rate of your sprinkler in the Eve app for the most accurate usage metrics.
Of course at home, you can use either the Eve or Home app to turn the water on or off. And there’s a single button on the front face of the Eve: Press it to control the water. I will say the motor inside of the Eve Aqua is a bit loud for my tastes. However, more often than not, I’m not standing outside near it.
If you want to move beyond a simple on/off situation, you’ll want to use the Eve app. Apple Home only supports the basic on/off functions.
Once in the Eve app, you can set custom schedules for every day of the week, for example, in a “Program”.
Multiple programs are supported.
This is also where you’ll see data such as how long since the Eve Aqua last watered something and the water consumption, or change the default watering duration.
I live in a townhouse and don’t have much to water but all of my programmed water schedules ran without a hitch.
It’s worth a quick note to mention that all of the schedules and your watering data are stored locally on the Eve Aqua. That not only secures your usage data but also allows the Aqua to work during an internet outage.
There’s another interesting feature that takes advantage of the Apple Shortcuts app.
It was a little finicky to set up because the custom shortcut from Eve is currently considered “untrusted”. However, I really wanted to try it because it’s a great example of using connected technologies for a better smart home experience.
Essentially, once the shortcut is added, you can ask Siri to “check watering”.
Siri will then look at your local weather to see the percentage chance of rain. If it’s above a certain threshold you can configure (the default is 50%), the shortcut will skip watering.
Note that if you check the weather before noon and rain is incoming, the Eve Aqua will pause watering for the rest of the day. If you check after noon, it will pause through noon the following day.
I was able to use the shortcut with Siri but it would error out when trying to pause watering for the day. I suspect this will be fixed soon, though, or could be something specific to me. Regardless, during the shortcut setup process, you can add 2 preset scenes to pause or unpause the water with a button tap.
Aside from my shortcut issue and the motor noise, the Eve Aqua impresses.
It works reliably on a schedule, provides useful information about your water consumption for the outdoors, and keeps your data local on the device, which a key element of most Eve products. If you have a HomeKit and Thread smart home (or will in the near future) and need a smart sprinkler, I think you’ll be happy.
JD Roberts says
We have had four of these in the last three years. We really like the HomeKit features and like the looks and they’ve been reliable for scheduling, but they break. Not right away and not usually during the warranty period, but eventually they start leaking and no one has been able to figure out how to fix them. So first we just bought another one, but now we have switched to a less expensive Wi-Fi version that does not work with HomeKit but does work with Alexa and has its own app.
If I had the money to replace the eve model every two years I might still get it, but I just can’t justify that.
JD Roberts says
I should also add I don’t expect Home Automation Devices to last forever, but I do budget for a three-year replacement cycle and this device just hasn’t been able to meet that.
I am wondering if you connect Eve Aqua with the special washer inside the connection point? I find it too shallow to properly connect to the tap when the washer is inside, and it leaks/sprays when the washer is removed.
Do you have any advice to share?
Thanks in advance!
JD Roberts says
Ah ha! The new Eve Aqua model is out, and not only does it now use Thread, they’ve redesigned the internal mechanism specifically to reduce leaks over time. So hopefully that will correct the issues that we saw at our house with the previous model.
“It replaces the previous internal system with a brass faucet connector and magnetic valve to improve durability, enjoy better leak protection, and has a near-silent operation compared to the previous model.”