Garden Sprinklers

Thursday, 16 March 2006 | Tags: , , ,

A green and luscious yard comes from keeping your lawn and garden well-watered. Choosing the right sprinkler for the size and shape of your yard can save you time, and water.

The Basics

  • For the average yard, there are four main types of sprinklers:

    • Oscillating, one of the most common, sprays out a fan-shaped curtain of water, while the metal arm oscillates back and forth to cover a rectangular area.

    • Stationary are typically ring-shaped with several holes molded in the top. They’re reasonably priced but the spouts are prone to clogging.

    • Rotary or spinning turn as they deliver water from 2 or 3 watering arms and can cover a small to medium-sized lawn quickly. Some have adjustable tips to change the spray to jet or mist.

    • Pulsating or impulse sprinklers have a single water jet anchored by a ground spike and deliver water in a circular pattern. Versatile and efficient, this sprinkler sprays water relatively close to the ground for better placement.

  • Metal sprinkles hold up a lot better and longer that plastic. Look for brass spouts, best for resisting rust.

  • Check the spray range. For large lawns, get the longest range you can find so you have to move it less.

  • For watering gardens as well as grass, choose a fine, lighter spray sprinkler so as not to damage flowers and shrubs.

Other Considerations

  • If you always forget to water during your allotted watering time as specified by your municipality, a timer can keep your watering on schedule and also prevent over-watering.


We recruited some serious lawn growers to see which of these sprinklers greened up best:

  • Gardena (6-spray patterns): $20
  • Nelson (oscillating with 3 settings): $24.83
  • Precision (noodle-head): $21.50
  • Orbit SunMate (pulsating): $19.76

Our tests and results include:

Coverage Test

  • The Nelson oscillating and Precision noodle-head each covered about 40 feet

  • The Orbit was unbeatable: great for really big lawns.

Spray Test

  • The Orbit was almost too powerful for the average suburban yard.

  • For a more confined area we liked the Gardenia and Precision for the gardens (flower beds and shrubs).


For lawn needs, we all agreed that the Nelson oscillating sprinkler was best, providing a gentle rain-like spray and the perfect reach for the average rectangular space.


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