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Best Lawn Sprinklers 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Believe us when we tell you that a sprinkler could do it some good, no matter how big or small your yard is. There are plenty of benefits to having a sprinkler, and there are so many different sizes, shapes, and types of sprinklers out there that you’re bound to find the perfect solution for you, no matter what you need.

You can keep your yard looking green and healthy with minimal work when you buy the right type of sprinkler. Long-term use or periodic watering, small or large yard, fancy landscaping or simple sod, you can find a system that’s easy for you to use and maintain. And we’re here to help you do that.

Best Lawn Sprinklers

Here are some of the best lawn sprinklers on the market today. They each get top ratings for different reasons from us, and there’s a wide variety of brands and models from which to choose.

#1. Melnor XT4200M XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler

Melnor XT4200M XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler, Black

The Melnor XT provides an extremely effective watering system without a harsh, damaging stream. This aspect is especially important if you are using your sprinkler for watering grass seed; newly-sprouted grass is notoriously delicate, and this type of water stream is perfect for this application. The housing is made of durable plastic and has twenty rubber nozzles along the top to give you consistent pressure without clogging.

You can adjust the water in two different ways, for either a narrow strip or wide swath that allows for effective watering of 4200 square feet at once. You can control the length and width to manage your coverage; notably, this is a lot more coverage than most other oscillating sprinklers on the market offer. You also have control over the flow and concentration of water, allowing you to direct it where you need it.

The Melnor XT4200M is easy to use and very dependable, making it great for average sized suburban yards that are square or rectangular. It’s also the perfect choice for when you need constant watering in the summer sun and heat.

 

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Pros
  • Great coverage
  • Adjustable
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Construction isn’t as sturdy as other models

#2. Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler with Day & Night Detection Modes

If this model had been around when we were kids, running through sprinklers would have been a lot more fun. It’s a motion-activated sprinkler, so imagine the suspense of taunting it to turn on and then running away as fast as you could.

This solution is great for repelling pests, and in a safe, humane way. The motion-activated sensor will startle them enough to keep them off your property. It has effective detection during the day as well as at night, so you can use it for protection all the time.

The Orbit 62100 also gives you versatility; you can choose twenty-four hour protection, day only, or night only. It will only turn on when you need it, so not only will you be conserving water, you’ll also be avoiding overwatering your lawn.

By placing the sprinkler’s spike firmly into the ground, you’ll always get a stable installation, thus allowing the unit to consistently spray up to seventy feet in a full circle. By programming it to turn on only when you need it, you can save the batteries; the Orbit 62100 takes four AAs.

With over 7500 activation cycles, you get the precise amount of water you need, all of the time. The smart sensor knows the difference between plants and animals, so it won’t turn on every time the wind rustles through the trees.

It can repel all manner of unwanted creatures from your yard; you can also use one of three detection modes, customize your protected zone, or add more enforcers by connecting them via the flow-through ports.

 

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Pros
  • Smart and versatile
  • Expandable
  • Adjustable and customizable
Cons
  • Pricey

#3. Gilmour 808763 Circle Pattern Spot Sprinkler

Gilmour 808763-1001 Circle Pattern Spot Sprinkler, 30'

This stationary sprinkler is durable and built to last. It’s inexpensive, and yet the water output covers a large footprint, making it more effective for less money. It provides adequate watering for flowers and lawns; this model is a great option for residential use on rectangular lawns. It can cover a 700-square-foot area in a 30-foot diameter circle pattern, and its spray is emitted in a gentle fountain. With the Gilmour 808763, you are able to target small areas, thus minimizing any waste of water.

Place this little sprinkler in full-sun areas that may need some extra attention, or where you’ve just put down new grass seed. It has a durable design, accurate coverage, and low pressure. With this handy little model, spot watering has never been easier, and the great thing about this Gilmour is that it’s so affordable. You can easily buy as many as you need to cover your entire lawn, or just buy the one for that little trouble spot that’s always plagued you.

 

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Pros
  • Great water output
  • Durable
  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Only covers a small space
  • Requires physically moving the unit from one spot to the next

#4. Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler

Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and Distance, Waters Up to 85’ Diameter Circle

This impact sprinkler is amazingly versatile and durable. It can be adjusted to water a full 360 degrees all the way down to a small twenty-degree angle. You can also adjust it to spray from forty to eighty-five feet in diameter, or change it from a powerful jet stream to a light mist. Most impact sprinklers are operated by water pressure, making them very limited in their capabilities, so this unique feature makes the Melnor a good solution—even for delicate flower beds.

The moving parts are made of durable, non-corrosive metal, so it is sure to withstand the elements and last for years to come. The sturdy base is made of heavily coated zinc and sealed with enamel for extra protection. The Melnor also comes with an extremely consumer-friendly warranty from the manufacturer that provides an unheard-of seven years of protection.

This impact sprinkler by Melnor is undeniably a serious tool for the avid gardener, or for the person who is meticulous about their lawn. With its large coverage area, extreme versatility, and durability warranty, this unit is the ideal choice for hard-core yard aficionados.

 

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Pros
  • Versatile
  • Customizable
  • Can cover a large area
  • Affordable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Heavy

#5. Rain Bird 1804VAN 4” Professional Pop-up Sprinkler

Rain Bird 1804VAN - 4' Professional Pop-up Sprinkler - 5 Pack - Adjustable Pattern (0 to 360 Degrees)

You don’t have to pay a company to install a sprinkler system for you to get the same level of functionality and usability. Pop-up sprinklers are a great alternative to the expense of hiring someone else to do it. And the Rain Bird system is a great DIY solution to make it easier on your budget, as well.

Rain Bird is well-known in the industry for making quality products at affordable prices. This professional pop-up sprinkler system gives you the underground sprinklers you want—and they attach to your faucet so that you can avoid the complicated and disruptive installation process of traditional in-ground sprinklers.

The Rain Bird comes with an automatic timer; this means that you can set it to shut off when it’s done watering. The starter package comes with six heads that will cover up to 3000 square feet, making it perfect for small suburban lawns. Each of these heads gives you as little as 40 degrees or as much as 360 degrees of water at up to 24 feet away. You can adjust them easily to direct the water where you need it most, and the battery runtime will allow you to set up which days of the week you want it to run and for how long.

 

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Pros
  • Covers a lot of ground
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Not expandable
  • Low-quality timer
  • Must be disconnected from faucet in cold weather

#6. Nelson 818653 Traveling Sprinkler

Nelson 818653-1001 Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain 13,500 Square feet Yellow 818653

This rain train-style sprinkler is great for large lawns that need constant coverage. It’s powered by water pressure, and features an oscillating jet on top. Oh, and did we mention? It’s really cute, too. This little guy is tractor-shaped, and it traverses your lawn on tiny tractor wheels. And it’s not only adorable—it can cover up to 13,500 square feet.

This can provide the coverage you need for a large suburban lawn. Your train moves along at a consistent rate, so you don’t have to physically move your sprinkler to another location when you’re done watering that spot. The adjustable arms allow you to customize your spray distance as needed from area to area.

Durable, cast-iron construction means this sprinkler will last for a long time, and you can use one of three variable speeds to control how much water your lawn gets. You can park your tractor to keep it stationary if you want to focus on a particular spot in your yard. It also features an automatic shut off—so that when it’s done, it stops.

 

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Pros
  • Can cover a large area
  • Coverage and watering amount are adjustable
  • Hands-free after set up
Cons
  • Doesn’t move very well on soft spots
  • May need occasional repositioning

#7. Rain Bird Rotor Heads 5000

Rain Bird Rotor Heads 5000 Rotor Sprinkler Heads. 4-Pack

Similar to the Rain Bird 1804VAN 4” Professional Pop-up Sprinkler heads, these rotor heads are inserted in the soil, and then they pop up when you need them to water. They can adjust from a 40-degree to a 360-degree rotation and can spray water where the 1804VAN pop-up sprinkler can’t: from 25 to 50 feet.

Adjusting them is easy, and it only requires a flathead screwdriver. With the super durable retract spring, you won’t have to worry about them getting stuck; they’ll always pop back down when they’re done.

This is a superior quality sprinkler system that’s a great alternative to the expense of installing an in-ground system. It distributes water uniformly with the Rain Curtain Technology, so no part of your lawn is missed, giving you beautiful, consistent results.

The same Rain Curtain Technology ensures wind resistance with larger droplets that won’t mist and become airborne, reducing waste due to evaporation. In other words, you’ll save water and money while keeping your lawn healthy this season.

Not only can these rotors spray far away, but they have close-in watering capabilities, to avoid dry spots around the rotors. The stem also contains a pressure regulator that helps restrict pressure to 45 PSI, to avoid seed wash-out, and so your nozzles work properly, all the time. You won’t experience pressure variations between heads, or the misting that high pressure causes.

The rotors are maintenance free, and they can easily be fitted into a 5000 Plus, Hunter PGP, or T-Bird system without having to install a new system.

 

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Pros
  • Durable
  • Rain Curtain Technology
  • Can be retrofitted
  • Adjustable
  • Great for large lawns
Cons
  • Must be disconnected in cold weather

Types of Lawn Sprinklers

There are many different types of sprinklers, and they all serve a purpose. Let’s take a look, so you’ll know which one is best for your specific needs.

Inground

These systems are installed in the ground and provide a control panel to schedule watering. They are connected to your main water supply and allow you to change out individual heads to fit the size and shape of your yard.

Stationary

These come with many different head types. They can water in different patterns and pressures based on your needs. They’re simple and affordable, but they don’t move by themselves, so they require a little extra work on your part.

Traveling

These are equipped with wheels to travel across your yard according to a guiding hose. They’re great for large lawns that need regular watering and cheaper than an inground system. Just set up the path, and they can run on their own to the end of the track.

Oscillating

This option moves back and forth, spraying streams of water in soft arches that fall at different rates. They can cover large, rectangular areas and are great for gently watering with high spray. They can also be gentle enough for flower beds, as it mimics rainfall.

Impact

These are versatile, as they can water anything from a full 360 degrees down to a 15-degree wedge of lawn. They’re simple to adjust and provide a powerful stream of water, but this also means they’re not great for delicate flowers.

Rotary

Rotary sprinklers are like stationary sprinklers because they have to stay in one place, but they distribute water through many arms. They cover a circular area, and the pressure can be adjusted, so they’re great for flower beds and trouble spots.

How to Choose a Sprinkler for Your Lawn

Choosing the right sprinkler for your lawn depends on your specific needs. It depends on how much money you want to spend, what you’re watering, how much work you want to do, and how much control you want to have over your watering process.

If you don’t mind spending the money, an inground system can work beautifully with your landscape and is pretty easy to maintain and control. It hooks up to your main water supply so that you don’t tie up one of your spigots, and there is no need to disconnect it in cold weather. It can be installed to your specifications and provide just the right amount of water. These systems can be a good investment if you have a large lawn that would otherwise require a great deal of work moving sprinklers around and adjusting them constantly.

If you don’t want to spend the money, but have a large lawn, a traveling sprinkler is your best bet. One of these units will save you the time and hassle of needing to monitor your watering. Any of the other sprinkler varieties are also great options, but you have to decide how much pressure you need, what you’re watering, and whether or not you want to move it around a lot or buy multiple units to properly cover the entire lawn.

How Many Lawn Sprinklers per Zone

This is a question that ultimately depends on the particular sprinkler variety you’re considering. If you are looking at sprinkler heads that can spray up to 50 feet, and your lawn is only 40 feet across by 40 feet wide, one sprinkler will more than do the trick.

However, if you have a larger lawn or you’re more interested in the water pressure than the distance, you may need two or three sprinkler heads to cover the entire lawn. And here’s an important tip: Take the time to carefully measure your yard before going out to make a purchase—in the long run, it will save you time and money to ensure you buy a sprinkler that can get the job done. Make sure to account for a little bit of overlap in your calculations; this will help avoid those annoying dead spots caused by under-reaching sprinklers. And it’s best to over-estimate; you can always return any unopened units.

Conclusion

It’s not always easy trying to decide which sprinkler is best or how many you need for your lawn or garden. Unfortunately, no one is going to be able to provide you with an exact answer unless they come out and have a look at your lawn. However, you should be better equipped to make an educated decision, now that you know more about what’s out there.