Types of Sprinklers and How to Choose the Right One


Whether you are looking for a complex sprinkler system for your lawn or a simple one for your vegetable garden, having a functional, efficient one is key. Sprinklers come in handy to water your lawn conveniently, ensuring you stay on top of your plant’s water needs.

In this article, you will find the various types of sprinklers on the market. You will understand how each works, helping you choose the best option for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many types of sprinklers to choose from and the right one depends on your needs.
  • The sprinkler system, water pressure, and type of soil highly affect the functionality and suitability of sprinklers.

Types of Lawn Sprinklers

Here are the most popular sprinklers:

  • Stationary sprinklers
  • Oscillating sprinklers
  • Pulsating sprinklers
  • In-ground sprinklers
  • Impact sprinklers
  • Traveling sprinklers

Each of these sprinkler systems works differently from the other, which means they are suited for different purposes. Below is a brief description of each type.

Stationary Sprinklers

If you have a small lawn or garden, this type of sprinkler is one of the best. Commonly known as a spot sprinkler, this type comes with a set pattern, usually circular, rectangular or square.

The best thing about this sprinkler is that it is inexpensive. Additionally, it is less likely to break since it does not come with any moving parts. What’s more, it suits low water pressure water lines; therefore suitable for everyone.

The only downside to using this sprinkler is the preset pattern that only waters in a single design, making it inefficient for large areas.

Oscillating Sprinklers

This type features a tube that moves in a back and forth pattern. High-end options allow you to adjust the spray pattern, helping you achieve more precision when watering plants [1].

Oscillating sprinklers are pretty common among gardeners, thanks to their suitability to water any rectangular gardens. Additionally, they come in different sizes allowing you to choose one that works efficiently on your lawn or garden.

The best thing is that oscillating sprinklers work with both low water pressure and high water pressure. The only con is that these may not be the best if you have an irregularly shaped garden or lawn.

Pulsating Sprinklers

Pulsating sprinklers have a unique design featuring a pulsating jet. They come with a rotating head that gives the illusion of a pulse. This design makes pulsating sprinklers the best for circular and irregular;y-shaped gardens.

With a highly functional one, you do not have to worry about paddles as the design ensures slow and gentle watering. However, if you use one in extremely hot weather, it is bound to use a lot of water as more of it evaporates.

In-Ground Sprinklers

This sprinkler type works perfectly for gardeners with large gardens. If you are planning to live somewhere for a long time, this is one of the best.

In-ground sprinklers are fitted under the ground with the heads popping up when it is time to water. They are a little complex to fit and come at a price to match all the fittings and fixtures required.

The good thing is once set up; you do not have to worry about recurring costs. They are a permanent solution and convenient for seasoned gardeners. Owing to their design, however, they can be challenging to move, repair or replace.

Impact Sprinklers

Known for their clicking sound when running, impact sprinklers are best for large areas, particularly those with grass. The system includes an impact hammer that hits back on a plate.

Once the hammer is pushed away, water sets out in a jet watering the area. One of the advantages is that you can water in a full circle or a partial one.

They are commonly used in parks where watering large patches or grass is required. However, they depend highly on water pressure and may not work efficiently with low water pressure.

Travelling Sprinklers

With the advancement of gardening tools and equipment came the traveling sprinklers. As the name suggests, these sprinklers pace due to water pressure, guided by the hose. The sprinkler is designed to ride along with the hose, making it suitable for long tracks.

If you have a large lawn, a traveling sprinkler may be the best option. However, they may not reach full potential with low water pressure besides the fact that they can be quite unnecessary if you have a small lawn.

Related post: Smart sprinkler controller

How to Choose the Right Sprinkler

It is essential to take the time to find a sprinkler that meets your needs to ensure you get the best value for your money. Below are several factors you should keep in mind when choosing a sprinkler.

The Sprinkler System

There are three common sprinkler systems, namely rotor head, drip, and spray systems [2]. The rotor head system is ideal for large lawns and gives the soil time to absorb the water.

The drip system is ideal if you have a variety of plants and garden sections, as it allows you to set the right configurations for specific areas of your garden. The spray system works well for a small area that needs a lot of water in a short time.

The most important thing is to ensure the system you choose can meet your lawn’s needs.

Type of Soil

Different sprinklers work for different soil types. If the soil in your garden is high absorbent, you want to avoid a sprinkler prone to causing paddles. In the same way, if your soil forms crusts, you may need a highly efficient sprinkler [3].

You can use a soil test kit to determine which type of soil you have.

Water Pressure and Availability

How much water do you have available? Some sprinkler systems will need more water than others; therefore, take the time to evaluate which one suits the amount of water you have. Also, pay attention to the water pressure as some designs require more than others.

The Bottom Line

The types above are all functional in watering lawns; however, your choice depends on the needs at hand. If you are looking for a suitable sprinkler, this article can guide you in choosing the best for your lawn.


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