If you don't have an in-ground sprinkler system, a smart faucet can let you set up a schedule to make sure your lawn or garden gets the water it needs. Elgato's Eve Aqua ($99) connects to your outdoor tap, and lets you control it from your iPhone, or through Siri. And while it works as advertised, it's not as robust as it should be, given its price.
Similar to the Orbit B-hyve smart faucet, the Eve Aqua is a box with a male hose connection on one end, and a female connector on the other. The main body is made of aluminum, with black plastic end caps. At 5.2 x 3.7 x 3.1 inches, it's chunkier than the B-hyve, but it should fit on any outdoor tap. I wish its neck were a bit longer, though — on one of my faucets, there was less than an eighth of an inch between the faucet's knob and the Aqua.
On the bottom of the Aqua is a plastic door that slides the entire front of the device open so you can insert its two AA batteries. I'm not sure if Elgato overthought or underthought this design — it's very difficult to open, and I don't know why you should have to pop open an entire side of the device just to change the batteries.
I like that Elgato includes an extra gasket — I'm always losing them — as well as a quick-release attachment.
Compared with the B-hyve, setting up the Eve Aqua was a breeze, mainly because there are far fewer things to configure. For starters, while both devices use Bluetooth to connect to a hub, the Aqua merely connects to an iPad or Apple TV; the B-hyve comes with its own Bluetooth hub, which you must set up before the faucet.
After opening the Elgato Eve app, I selected the option to add a new device, and then scanned in the code provided in the instruction booklet. Next, I selected the room to which I wanted to add the device (in this case, my backyard) and named the device.
From there, I could set up a watering schedule in the app, specify how long it should water for, and see when it last watered and approximately how much water had been used.
Although it's arguably easier to use than Orbit's B-hyve, the Eve Aqua is too simplistic. For example, I like that the B-hyve will not only create a watering program based on your system, but it will also automatically delay its program if it rains. Neither feature is available with the Aqua.
Although the Aqua works with Apple's Homekit, it won't support Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Moreover, you can't do as much with the Aqua and Siri as you can with the B-Hyve and Alexa. You can tell Siri to turn the water on or off — it worked like a charm when I tried it — but you can't ask it how much water the Aqua has used, activate or delay a watering, or anything else. You can find out all of those things from the B-hyve.
Elgato made an easy-to-use smart faucet for HomeKit users, but there's just not enough there to justify the $30 premium over the Orbit B-hyve, which has many more watering options and works with more popular smart-home assistants. Unless you're wedded to Apple's HomeKit, go with Orbit's smart faucet — and weather its longer setup process.
Credit: Tom's Guide