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View Full Version : What brand should we switch to?


cgbaseball23
10-29-2007, 11:12 PM
Im one of those "long time listener (viewer), first time caller (poster)" situations. I have been reading threads in here for awhile now and havnt really needed to post anything up until i had this question to ask.

Well, we have been irrigating for about 6 years now and have been pretty loyal to Weathermatic products for that time. Although lately, we have been getting very fed-up with Weathermatic products and plan on changing brands for next season. Between going to replace a fried WM Smartline control box, and changing the many failing solenoids, day after day, we decided its time to look somewhere else. However, we are stuck between Rain Bird products, and Hunter Products. We would like to stick completely to one brand, or to the other, but if there is a good enough reason to mix and match a little bit, then we will do so, and if there is a case like that, please post and explain. I understand that this is a very broad question, but consider all the pros and cons of each brand and give an overall opinion. So what should it be, Rain Bird, or Hunter?

hoskm01
10-29-2007, 11:34 PM
I have nothing against Hunter, others do. Ive never really used Hunter much in the field and I know Rain Bird quite well, so brand loyalty I guess. I have few if any problems with them and there are no recurring problems I have seen...

Until today. Maybe just me, but a couple of solenoid washers have been performing poorly in from the last case I bought... Maybe its just operator error?

I vote RB

Bigred350
10-30-2007, 12:02 AM
We use all rain bird products. We have very very few call backs.

Dirty Water
10-30-2007, 12:13 AM
I find a mix between Rainbird and Hunter gives excellent results

Hunter PGP's and I-20's
Rainbird 1800's

Rainbird DVF-100 valves.

Rainbird ESP-M timers.

Hunter swing pipe.

LCPullman
10-30-2007, 12:27 AM
I'd recommend Hunter. I've gotten fed up with non-functional RB 5000 series rotors. That is my main gripe about Rain Bird. I like the Hunter's Pro-Spray, PGV valves and Pro-C controllers better than the RB equivalents, but that may just be my personal preferrence.

Kiril
10-30-2007, 12:30 AM
I find a mix between Rainbird and Hunter gives excellent results

Agreed.

I will add you shouldn't necessarily restrict yourself to any one or two brands. Every reputable manufacturer has their specialties and rock solid products. Use products that provide the best fit for the job given the allowance you have. For example, I have had good results with both Hunter ICC and Rainbird ESP, but I wouldn't use one of their ET managers/controllers if you gave it to me.

hoskm01
10-30-2007, 12:31 AM
As you can see, youre probably not going to get a definitive answer from this gaggle of geese.

cgbaseball23
10-30-2007, 12:36 AM
As you can see, youre probably not going to get a definitive answer from this gaggle of geese.

Well maybe not, but it is nice to read other people's experiences with both products, and if anything, it will help me decide which we should use.

Keep the suggestions coming!

hoskm01
10-30-2007, 12:43 AM
Not that it should sway you to any great degree, but if youre torn, check out the rewards programs. Lots of money spent can equal some nice returns from the manufacturer. If all else was equal... Rain Bird is cool, dont know anything bout Hunters.

FIMCO-MEISTER
10-30-2007, 07:26 AM
I find a mix between Rainbird and Hunter gives excellent results

Hunter PGP's and I-20's
Rainbird 1800's

Rainbird DVF-100 valves.

Rainbird ESP-M timers.

Hunter swing pipe.

DW is the closest to me in preferences. Only thing is I would stick with the WM SL controller. Best controller going in that price range in my opinion. What problems are you having with them? What fried the one you had to replace? I've replaced some ESP-Ms and Hunter controllers that had screwed up with the SL.

FIMCO-MEISTER
10-30-2007, 07:29 AM
Stay away from any Hunter product that starts with SR. Stands for sh-tty residential. Availability is going to be a big factor. What is your favorite supply house pushing? Also look into MPs.

Wet_Boots
10-30-2007, 07:32 AM
SRC is an excellent entry-level controller. The lack of modules in its design is actually a reliability plus.

Mike Leary
10-30-2007, 10:41 AM
When we blew our big estate yesterday, I watched two zones I put in 20
years ago work perfect @ 60 psi @ head...Toro "Stream Rotors"! 003 nozzles.

hoskm01
10-30-2007, 11:21 AM
Have you been maintaining them all this time, someone else, or they just on their own?

Mike Leary
10-30-2007, 04:07 PM
Have you been maintaining them all this time, someone else, or they just on their own?

I wish, being non-profit. their budget is restrained..A client & I gave them
two WM SLs a couple of years to replace the cruddy Irritrols, I did charge them to install w/ remotes. They have a in house "sprinkler guy", sort of, not full
time, not full speed either (he mows, prunes, etc,also). But they keep it
going & mostly it works, sorta of, not like I would desire, tho.:cry:

Keen
10-30-2007, 05:52 PM
I only ask because depending on how many $'s you are taking about you may want to contact your local Rain Bird and Hunter Reps and tell them you are ready to go 100% with one or the other.

Lots of times they will sweeten the deal to get you to switch over (offering things like points and/or rebates, product, etc)

What would I do?...I would go with Rain Bird but I would contact them first and see if I could get something for my loyalty/business.

Good Luck!:)

CAPT Stream Rotar
10-30-2007, 06:10 PM
rb-3500
Hunter-pgp,1-20,1-25
rb-valves

Mike Leary
10-30-2007, 06:54 PM
(offering things like points and/or rebates, product, etc

Dream on buddy, I belonged to Hunter & RB points for years...got lotsa
t shirts....my discount was the same (the best) if I bought one or a case,
'cause I shopped only two suppliers in twenty five years, they knew &
adjusted their prices to be competitive with each other, so the only bottom
line criteria was service..."I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.:) Plus, I never pimped them, either.

cgbaseball23
10-30-2007, 09:45 PM
What problems are you having with them? What fried the one you had to replace?.

The WM SL controller is honestly the only thing that I like that Weathermatic makes, but only because of it's simple design and is very consumer friendly. But it just seems that we go to replace more WM controllers than any other controller, and we have picked up many customers that other companies have installed systems with various brands. It seems like every small power surge will fry the WM SL controllers. We have even had problems with weathermatic solenoids bursting, and frying the control box. It simply is just not a brand that we want to use anymore cause of all the problems we have had.

cgbaseball23
10-30-2007, 09:49 PM
Just out of curiosity, is there anyone that uses weathermatic products?, or have in the past? What experiences have you had with them?

Again, thanks for all the responses, you all have given me a lot of ideas to toss around. :cool2:

gusbuster
10-30-2007, 10:18 PM
"I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.:)

Agreed.

I will add you shouldn't necessarily restrict yourself to any one or two brands. Every reputable manufacturer has their specialties and rock solid products. Use products that provide the best fit for the job given the allowance you have.

Some very sound advice by some of the smartest posters on this forum.

I would never religiously use one kind of brand but a combination of comparable products that are designed for use by pro installers. Second, it's what you can reliably get from your distributor when the cards are down and you need an ace.

Myself for the stuff that I mainly use it's always a mix of Hunter, RainBird Weathermatic and MP's which is now a Hunter product.

I am lucky because where I live, whether I go 15 minutes south or north I have the likes of Ewing, Horizon and JDL which allows me to price shop very easily.

By the way, when they can make it so I don't have to spend 30,000 bucks just to get a jacket or free class, maybe then I'll be loyal to one brand.

John

bigred1
10-30-2007, 10:27 PM
One thing to consider is who locally you will be working with. The company is only as good as the support they can give you. We could likely swap Weathermatic horror stories, but I bet I would win. :) The more work I do the more I realize that people can put up with a lot of stuff, and are even willing to pay more, if they are treated with respect and get good service. That is one thing that Weathermatic is just lacking. I just heard they bought, excuse me, "acquired" a new company, and they can't even take care of the customers and product problems that they have?? They are trying to market themselves as the water conservation company. Whatever. All they have is the clock, and there are already rumblings of problems in our area about those. I'll tell you, Weathermatic doesn't care about conserving anything but their own fat pockets.

grassman177
10-31-2007, 12:18 AM
i work on toro hunter and rainbird, and over th years i have found that hunter heads are better and longer lasting and the two companies vavles seemt o be equal. i find hunter controllers to be easier to use for both parties, but they are both good. i have found rainbird 5000 rotors brand new and non rotating. this is crappy. never ever found a hunter thta didi this.

FIMCO-MEISTER
10-31-2007, 08:12 AM
The WM SL controller is honestly the only thing that I like that Weathermatic makes, but only because of it's simple design and is very consumer friendly. But it just seems that we go to replace more WM controllers than any other controller, and we have picked up many customers that other companies have installed systems with various brands. It seems like every small power surge will fry the WM SL controllers. We have even had problems with weathermatic solenoids bursting, and frying the control box. It simply is just not a brand that we want to use anymore cause of all the problems we have had.

I'm going to print this note and bring it up with my WM rep. I'll get some details. To this point I've had great success with the WM SL and they have been honest with me on issues concerning it. I feel what they are trying to achieve with this controller is a real leap forward for the dinky pipe side of this industry. I know of no other controller in this price range that can perform some ET water management that we all know getting customers to do well is next to impossible. I've got a Baseline moisture sensor attached to my SL as well as the monitor and the results have been very good as of now.

Keen
10-31-2007, 07:25 PM
Originally Posted by Keen
(offering things like points and/or rebates, product, etc)

Dream on buddy, I belonged to Hunter & RB points for years...got lotsa
t shirts....my discount was the same (the best) if I bought one or a case,
'cause I shopped only two suppliers in twenty five years, they knew &
adjusted their prices to be competitive with each other, so the only bottom
line criteria was service..."I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.:) Plus, I never pimped them, either.

Well to each their own...I would say that unless you let the MFG rep know you are considering a switch there is no way to know what they would offer to win your business. Things like points and/or rebates, product, etc are available if you have a relationship with a local MFG rep and ask what is available.

These are from the MFG/Sales rep directly and not off invoice from the distributor, so they really don't have any impact on where you buy and who can "get it to you in 10 minutes"...that is a different topic entirely.

If you are going 100% one brand or the other it is foolish not to ask. :waving:

Mike Leary
10-31-2007, 07:56 PM
[QUOTE=Keen;2017360] Things like points and/or rebates, product, etc are available if you have a relationship with a local MFG rep and ask what is available.
These are from the MFG/Sales rep directly [/QUOTE

Jezz, you guys have it great, up here Reps are as rare as sun in December.
Mostly the distributors handle the communication & that's what my comment
was about. In twenty five years, I've had THREE good factory reps that took
care of us..good care...the rest pimps. David Cummings of Weather Matic,
Bill Smille of Rain Master & Mark Peacock of Calsense.
:clapping: I spent more time researching how to fine tune the art/biz than
dinking around with boring reps.:hammerhead:

hoskm01
10-31-2007, 08:00 PM
Keen, where are you from in the "SW"?

Kiril
11-01-2007, 01:03 AM
dinking around with boring reps.:hammerhead:

Geez, you are old. Haven't heard that term in a VERY long time.

Rotor_Tool
11-01-2007, 09:48 PM
Originally Posted by Mike Leary
"I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.

It was mentioned before, you will never get a straight answer from this gang. As Mr. Leary stated above, it's not the brands it's the distributors. Let's look at your options in Indianapolis:

Rain Bird Distributors:
Kenney Outdoor Solutions
Automatic Irrigation Supply
John Deere Landscapes
HydroLogic (coming soon if not already there)
Shemins Nursery (irrigation coming soon if not already there)

Hunter Distributors:
John Deere Landscapes

It looks to me like you have a better shot at pricing and availability going green.:waving:

cgbaseball23
11-01-2007, 10:40 PM
Originally Posted by Mike Leary
"I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.

It was mentioned before, you will never get a straight answer from this gang. As Mr. Leary stated above, it's not the brands it's the distributors. Let's look at your options in Indianapolis:

Rain Bird Distributors:
Kenney Outdoor Solutions
Automatic Irrigation Supply
John Deere Landscapes
HydroLogic (coming soon if not already there)
Shemins Nursery (irrigation coming soon if not already there)

Hunter Distributors:
John Deere Landscapes

It looks to me like you have a better shot at pricing and availability going green.:waving:

We buy mostly from John Deere. and will go to Automatic if we are in need of a part and it is closer. They both sell Hunter and Rain Bird products. So the distributors are not much of a problem in that regard. To me it looks like the best option is to look at the products individually and mix and match the best of each brand, as many people have suggested doing so.

YardPro
11-02-2007, 09:17 PM
we are almost all hunter,
overall i think they are the best brand out there.

JimLewis
11-03-2007, 11:37 PM
I have used both. A few years ago we switched from using 90% Hunter products to now using 100% Rain Bird.

Reasons I switched;


I've never liked the Hunter controllers. The RB ESP controllers are just super user friendly.
Rain Bird has 5x more name recognition with homeowners, and is preferred by most homeowners. I always hated how I had to "talk people into" using Hunter. Everyone always asked for RB and I was in the position of having to try to convince them that this other brand they had never heard of was really better, and cheaper - which is counter-intuitive. Most educated consumers know that better is almost never cheaper. You get what you pay for.
We were getting a LOT of callbacks on the hunter spray heads....broken seals and weak stems. They've since fixed those problems. But RB has had bullet-proof spray heads for over a decade. They made their spray heads great from Day 1.
We do a lot of irrigation repair - on all brands of systems. And RB was the one brand we always noticed we had less problems with, even on older systems. They consistently seemed to be more reliable than the other brands.
The product line that RB carries is much more extensive. RB usually beats Hunter to market with new innovations in irrigation.
The RB Rewards program is WAY better than the Hunter Rewards program. I can't even begin to tell you how much better RB has treated me than Hunter did.
I really believe RB dedicates more money and effort into the R&D than Hunter does.


I am sure I'll think of more. But those are some of the main reasons we switched and haven't looked back.

zman9119
11-03-2007, 11:50 PM
Originally Posted by Mike Leary
"I need this part in 10 minutes". It's not the brands
it's the distributor.

It was mentioned before, you will never get a straight answer from this gang. As Mr. Leary stated above, it's not the brands it's the distributors. Let's look at your options in Indianapolis:

Rain Bird Distributors:
Kenney Outdoor Solutions
Automatic Irrigation Supply
John Deere Landscapes
HydroLogic (coming soon if not already there)
Shemins Nursery (irrigation coming soon if not already there)

Hunter Distributors:
John Deere Landscapes

It looks to me like you have a better shot at pricing and availability going green.:waving:

HydroLogic and Shemins are both Hunter Distributors.

FIMCO-MEISTER
11-04-2007, 05:52 AM
I have used both. A few years ago we switched from using 90% Hunter products to now using 100% Rain Bird.

Reasons I switched;


I've never liked the Hunter controllers. The RB ESP controllers are just super user friendly.
Rain Bird has 5x more name recognition with homeowners, and is preferred by most homeowners. I always hated how I had to "talk people into" using Hunter. Everyone always asked for RB and I was in the position of having to try to convince them that this other brand they had never heard of was really better, and cheaper - which is counter-intuitive. Most educated consumers know that better is almost never cheaper. You get what you pay for.
We were getting a LOT of callbacks on the hunter spray heads....broken seals and weak stems. They've since fixed those problems. But RB has had bullet-proof spray heads for over a decade. They made their spray heads great from Day 1.
We do a lot of irrigation repair - on all brands of systems. And RB was the one brand we always noticed we had less problems with, even on older systems. They consistently seemed to be more reliable than the other brands.
The product line that RB carries is much more extensive. RB usually beats Hunter to market with new innovations in irrigation.
The RB Rewards program is WAY better than the Hunter Rewards program. I can't even begin to tell you how much better RB has treated me than Hunter did.
I really believe RB dedicates more money and effort into the R&D than Hunter does.


I am sure I'll think of more. But those are some of the main reasons we switched and haven't looked back.
I agree with you on everything but the red sentence. I'm not sure about the R&D factor either. How a company like RB doesn't have a decent remote is beyond me. The one they did bring out was a disaster. RB ET manager is a joke. Hunters is better but impractical. Ed Hunter was an R&D guy and I would suspect he built a strong R&D dept at Hunter. RB is much older than Hunter and the strides Hunter has made to narrow the market are pretty amazing. With TOROs collapse as an irrigation provider in my mind Hunter has been the best thing going to keep a fire on these manufacturers. Having said that the only Hunter products on our service trucks are swing joints and PGPs.

Wet_Boots
11-04-2007, 07:28 AM
I still like their controllers, and use the SRC on budget work, so I can use their remote. A few of their nozzles get used on our 1800 popups, because their patterns are different than RB (or Toro)

Rotor_Tool
11-04-2007, 02:32 PM
HydroLogic and Shemins are both Hunter Distributors.

The original post is from Indiana. Last I knew, Hunter had not mutualized the market, they only sell through John Deere Landscapes.

Ewing and Horizon are Hunter distributors too, but not in Indiana.

Rotor_Tool
11-04-2007, 02:34 PM
I have used both. A few years ago we switched from using 90% Hunter products to now using 100% Rain Bird.

Reasons I switched;


I've never liked the Hunter controllers. The RB ESP controllers are just super user friendly.
Rain Bird has 5x more name recognition with homeowners, and is preferred by most homeowners. I always hated how I had to "talk people into" using Hunter. Everyone always asked for RB and I was in the position of having to try to convince them that this other brand they had never heard of was really better, and cheaper - which is counter-intuitive. Most educated consumers know that better is almost never cheaper. You get what you pay for.
We were getting a LOT of callbacks on the hunter spray heads....broken seals and weak stems. They've since fixed those problems. But RB has had bullet-proof spray heads for over a decade. They made their spray heads great from Day 1.
We do a lot of irrigation repair - on all brands of systems. And RB was the one brand we always noticed we had less problems with, even on older systems. They consistently seemed to be more reliable than the other brands.
The product line that RB carries is much more extensive. RB usually beats Hunter to market with new innovations in irrigation.
The RB Rewards program is WAY better than the Hunter Rewards program. I can't even begin to tell you how much better RB has treated me than Hunter did.
I really believe RB dedicates more money and effort into the R&D than Hunter does.


I am sure I'll think of more. But those are some of the main reasons we switched and haven't looked back.


For those of you that are suspicious (Kiril, Fimco, Boots, etc.) this post didn't cost me a dime! :laugh:

Wet_Boots
11-04-2007, 03:55 PM
What suspicious? I reiterate that all-one-brand installers could do better work than they choose to do, and the reason they so choose is money. Big whoop. Enjoy the points.

Mike Leary
11-04-2007, 04:12 PM
Brand name hats & t-shirts doth not make a irrigation professional.

YardPro
11-04-2007, 05:38 PM
jim

we had TONS of problems with the T birds and r-50's. Here an r-50 was a failure waiting to happen.

I agree with rainbird having better name recognition, but that is a double edged sword. The reason for the recognition is because of the big box store sales push.
The problem i have had is trying to explain that my componets are better than the rainbird crap at lowe's, and that is why it is more expensive.

Mike Leary
11-04-2007, 05:45 PM
jim
we had TONS of problems with the T birds

That's so weird..we used T birds for years..still have a grip of them in service
one of the coolest heads ever invented IMHO.:walking:

JimLewis
11-04-2007, 06:42 PM
I never had any major problems with the T-Birds, et. al. But then again, we never installed very many of them. Here in the land of postage stamp lawns, spray heads are the norm and rotors are the exception. We get much less exposure with rotors than many of you do.

But I do love the 3500s and 5000s. Doing an install next week with the 5004 PRS rotors. IMO, they've now finally succeeded in making a rotor that is as reliable as the PGP and easier to install and adjust.

Mike Leary
11-04-2007, 07:12 PM
But I do love the 3500s and 5000s. Doing an install next week with the 5004 PRS rotors. IMO, they've now finally succeeded in making a rotor that is as reliable as the PGP and easier to install and adjust.

Nice heads, both....won't use the 3500 because of the 4" pop..6" has proved
to be the way to go.

sprinklerchris
11-08-2007, 12:14 PM
I sent in my request to K-Rain to get one of their free Hunter PGP look-alikes but haven't received it yet. Did anyone else get one?

http://www.switch2krain.com

LCPullman
11-08-2007, 12:32 PM
I sent in my request to K-Rain to get one of their free Hunter PGP look-alikes but haven't received it yet. Did anyone else get one?

http://www.switch2krain.com

I don't find the K-Rains to be as reliable as the Hunters. They may be as good as Rainbird, but not as reliable as Hunter.

Over time, the turbines get harder to turn and eventually the water going through just can't turn the turbine and you have a non-rotating head.

hoskm01
11-08-2007, 07:02 PM
They may be as good as Rainbird,

In Irish Accent

"I believe that when me schitt turns purple and smells of rainbow sherbert."

JimLewis
11-08-2007, 08:16 PM
In Irish Accent

"I believe that when me schitt turns purple and smells of rainbow sherbert."

Ditto that. I still believe you almost always get what you pay for. I am always suspect when I see some new product (K-Rain Rotor) that claims to be as good as the real thing they are imitating (Hunter PGP) but costs quite a bit less. I may be an old red-neck from the backwoods of Or-E-Gone but I been around long enough to know it usually don't work that way.

londonrain
11-08-2007, 10:23 PM
The Krain RPS75 looks more like the orbit(PGP knockoff) with the higher collar than the lower profile PGP collar, could it be that k-rain has been making the orbit... since they both hold the U.S. Patent No. 5,417,370...

hoskm01
11-09-2007, 09:25 AM
could it be that k-rain has been making the orbit... since they both hold the U.S. Patent No. 5,417,370...



Zing!!!!!!Zap!!!! Ouch!!!!!!

::Watches ball go back in to Pullmans court::

sprinklerchris
11-09-2007, 11:06 AM
I'll wait for my sample and let you guys know how it looks.

I'm surprised they haven't sent it yet.

AI Inc
12-18-2007, 03:35 PM
Heres my list
Febco BF,s
Hunter rotors
hunter ps sprayers for over 10' RB1800 for under 10'
RB 100 dv for city water , Hunter hpv for wells
Pro c clocks , ICC for large systems
funny pipe , what ever they give me all pretty much the same
Dura valve boxes.