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5 Best Sprinklers (2021 Review)

Sprinklers come in a variety of designs and can help water your growing lawn. The This Old House Reviews team researched the best sprinklers to help you find a product that can nourish your grass all year long. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Lawn Sprinkler Adobe

Having a dense and colorful lawn starts with owning a quality sprinkler. Sprinklers come in several shapes and sizes, each offering various coverage areas, sprinkling methods, and settings to fit your yard’s needs. To help you find a model that can help your yard flourish, the This Old House Reviews team looked into the best sprinklers on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator

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This oscillating sprinkler from Melnor uses 20 nozzles to spray water in two directions and cover up to 4,500 square feet of your yard. The sprinkler has an adjustable width and range to adapt to the size of your garden, lawn, or flower bed. Additionally, Melnor gives homeowners peace of mind through its limited lifetime warranty, which protects the sprinkler from defects in material and workmanship.

GrowGreen Rotating Lawn Sprinkler

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GrowGreen’s rotating sprinkler is a great option for homeowners who want to water dry spots on their lawn. This sprinkler rotates 360 degrees and sprays water up to 32.8 feet away, covering as much as 3,600 square feet. In addition to its powerful performance, this sprinkler is constructed with a rust-resistant polymer that helps keep your lawn hydrated day after day.

Gilmour Spot Sprinkler

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This spot sprinkler from Gilmour is a solid choice for homeowners who need to water a small garden bed or a pesky patch of dry grass. The affordable sprinkler has a compact metal base for durability and sprays a constant stream of low-pressure water to cover up to 450 square feet. Additionally, the sprinkler’s hose attachment is built into its frame for a simple water connection.

Orbit Brass Impact Sprinkler

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This impact sprinkler from Orbit is attached to a heavy-duty brass base and can cover up to 6,360 square feet with its adjustable rotating head. The sprinkler is also equipped with a convenient gooseneck garden hose attachment that prevents the material from bending. Additionally, the sprinkler’s sturdy tripod has adjustable legs that can fold for easy storage.

Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain

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This traveling sprinkler has a cast-iron body and waters over 13,000 square feet of grass with its powerful spray arms. The sprinkler follows a standard hose around your yard and contains adjustable speed controls for a fast or slow watering process. Additionally, the device automatically shuts off after completing its cycle to reduce your monthly water bill and prevent water waste.

Types of Sprinklers

Sprinklers come in a variety of designs to match the shape, density, and size of your lawn. Here’s the performance you can expect from the six most common sprinkler types.

Spot

Spot sprinklers are the most basic watering tool available to homeowners. These devices don’t have moving parts, causing them to spray water in a small, circular area. Spot sprinklers, including the Gilmour Spot Sprinkler, are a great choice for homeowners who want to water a small patch of grass or a particular spot in their garden. While spot sprinklers can’t spray large volumes of water, they use less water and are easier to manage than their mechanical counterparts.

Oscillating

Oscillating sprinklers have a central arm with fine nozzles scattered across its surface and a control arm that spins back and forth to cover the grass in soft droplets. Oscillating sprinklers like the Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator are a great way to water a large, rectangular section of your yard.

Impact

Impact sprinklers are powerful models that rotate while distributing a constant stream of water and covering a large area of your yard. Impact sprinklers are known for their rain-like water distribution and convenient sprinkler stands that raise their elevation. Some models, including the Orbit Impact Sprinkler, are compatible with stands that fold for simple storage.

Rotating

Rotating sprinklers sit low to the ground and have multiple arms that rotate to distribute water in all directions. Rotating sprinklers like the GrowGreen Rotating Lawn Sprinkler provide solid coverage to small areas of your yard. Additionally, these models typically have a compact and lightweight frame that’s easy to move around your yard.

Traveling

A traveling sprinkler uses the water pressure from a hose to rotate gears located on its base, which moves the sprinkler across your lawn. Traveling sprinklers are typically preferred by homeowners because of their convenience and large range. Some traveling sprinklers, including the Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain, can save you money and water by automatically turning off after completing a cycle.

In-ground

In-ground sprinklers, or irrigation systems, consisting of multiple sprinkler heads positioned across your lawn are connected to the main water source. In-ground sprinkler systems can turn on and off automatically, and they’re a convenient choice for homeowners looking for a hands-free way to water their lawn. The sprinklers installed underneath your lawn require extensive manual labor, which causes these models to be more expensive than their hose-connected counterparts.

Factors To Consider Before Buying a Sprinkler

Before purchasing a sprinkler, it’s important to understand how each model’s settings and construction impact its performance. Here are three considerations to think about when buying a sprinkler.

Lawn size

The sprinkler you purchase should match your lawn’s watering needs. For example, if you own acres of land, consider purchasing an in-ground sprinkler system that has the power and coverage to keep your yard hydrated. If you have a smaller lawn or garden bed, consider a compact sprinkler like the Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator.

Settings

Most sprinklers contain settings like automatic timers and rotating heads that let you adjust the device’s water pressure, coverage, and spray pattern. If you’re looking for a versatile sprinkler, consider a model like the Orbit Brass Impact Sprinkler, which comes with a rotating head and a distance adjustment of up to 100 feet. If you’re looking for an easy-to-manage sprinkler that requires little adjustment, the Gilmour Spot Sprinkler is a solid choice.

Range

A sprinkler’s range is typically expressed in the square footage it covers, which can vary from 200 to over 10,000 square feet. Long-range sprinklers, including the Orbit Sprinkler and Nelson Traveling Sprinkler, offer over 5,000 square feet of coverage. More basic models like the GrowGreen Sprinkler and Melnor Oscillator cover under 5,000 square feet.

Lawn Watering Tips

When watering your lawn, it’s important to consider the time of day and your grass type to ensure that you conserve water and properly nourish your yard.

  • The best time to water your grass is in the morning, as the cool air reduces water evaporation while still giving your lawn a chance to dry throughout the day.
  • Most lawns need about 1.5 inches of water every week for healthy growth, though cool-season grasses like fescue or ryegrass may need additional watering during the fall. Warm-season grasses, including centipedegrass and zoysiagrass, may need more frequent watering in late spring.
  • If you’re growing the new grass on a bare spot in your lawn, water the seedlings at least once a day. Once the growing seeds germinate and you’re able to see the heads of the stalks, you can water the growing grass on the same schedule as the rest of your yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are sprinklers good to use in a garden?

Yes. Purchasing a garden sprinkler is a convenient way to keep your fruits, vegetables, and plants looking healthy. A compact sprinkler like the Gilmour Spot Sprinkler is a great option for watering a small garden because of its 450-square-foot coverage that comes at an affordable price. For large lawns and gardens, consider investing in the Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator to ensure all corners are covered.

How long should I water my lawn?

A healthy lawn needs about 1.5 inches of water per week. If you live in an area that receives little rainfall, this comes out to about a 30-minute watering three times per week. If your yard receives heavy rainfall once a week, you should decrease the amount of water and the frequency of watering.

Can you overwater grass?

Yes. An oversaturated lawn suffocates because of the washed-out silt and sand that restricts its airflow. Signs of an overwatered lawn include fungus growth, an increase in insects, and puddles of standing water.

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