Hunter Vs. Rainbird A Contractors Opinion
Our sprinkler company River Cities Systems started out over 20 years ago using a variety of products including Nelson, Toro, Hunter, and Rainbird. We let each customer choose what brand they wanted to use, and after about 5 years or so, we noticed that our customers were choosing to install predominately Hunter and Rainbird products.
Hunter and Rainbird are great products, but after using these two great brands for over 5 years, we noticed that the Rainbird products were a bit inferior to Hunter so we decided to only offer Hunter products and haven’t looked back ever since.
Here are the top 5 reasons why we think Hunter is better than Rainbird.
Hunter products are slightly more durable than Rainbird. They can handle a greater PSI which is important when it comes to water pressure, winterization and extreme weather. Sprinkler heads sit in the ground which experience extreme temperatures. This can weaken the plastic over time, and you want a head that can withstand equipment running over them, the higher psi for winterizations, etc.
One thing that is extremely annoying about a Rainbird valve is that they use screws that strip out easily. You may not think this is a big deal, but if the valve requires any maintenance, having screws that strip out is not an easy thing to deal with when you have a valve box in the ground that you don’t want to dig up and redo the whole thing. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to us, and it takes over an hour to fix something that should have taken 5 minutes.
Hunter has a dual screw system where if you strip out the phillips, you can still use a hex screw to pull out the valve. This little difference may seem small, but it saves so much time and money when working on a valve.
Hunter Controllers are way easier to program than Rainbird. Hunter has a few types of controllers. They have outdoor controllers, residential, light commercial, and commercial controllers. All of these controllers operate almost the exact same as far as programming and looks. Each controller offers slightly different features, but if you understand one of them, you will get the hang of the rest of the hunter controllers relatively easily.
Rainbird is all over the place with their controllers. You need to have an instruction manual close by to understand the features of each controller. We service all types of systems, so we often run into Rainbird controllers, and it can be a nightmare because each one looks different, and the programming is different from controller to controller. Once you understand the controller, in our opinion it still an inferior controller that has poor design.
4. Malfunction Rate
Hunter and Rainbird heads are extremely reliable, and we have some systems that are over 12 years old that have only had to have a couple heads replaced. We have found over time that Hunter heads malfunction less than Rainbird heads and it can be an eye sore. When a head stops rotating, you get a green strip of grass in your yard, and the rest will be brown around it.
Although Rainbird is a little bit cheaper than Hunter, when you take into consideration that Rainbird is an inferior product which may cost you more in the long run, in our opinion Hunter is the way to go. In addition, our company River Cities Systems offers a better price than our competitors that use Rainbird products. We offer a 3 year warranty and keep our prices low because we are confident in the products we install!
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