Summer means long days and warm sunshine – perfect for relaxing in the garden! But that dry weather can also be hard on your lawn. Take the strain out of keeping it lush and green by investing in a sprinkler.
If you need help choosing the right one – read on! We’re going to review seven of the best lawn sprinklers out there today.
At a glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Lawn Sprinkler
Best Lawn Sprinkler on the Market 2019
1. GrowGreen Garden Sprinkler, 360 Degree Rotating Lawn Sprinkler (Our Top Recommended)
If your lawn is about as long as it is wide, this 360-degree sprinkler from GrowGreen could be for you.
Placed in the center of your lawn it will keep your grass watered across a maximum 32.8 feet radius. And if you need to cover a smaller area, you can adjust the nozzles on each of the three arms. Tilt them to a more upright position, and the watering radius will decrease.
The rotating action will keep your grass evenly watered, so you won’t have to worry about parched patches. As with any sprinkler of this design, though, the grass very close to the unit will stay dry.
The speed of rotation is determined by the water pressure. If you want it to go faster, turn your tap to the maximum flow rate.
This works fine with standard water pressure, and will even cope with pressure that’s on the low side. But if you want to cover a larger area, linking two sprinklers together will mean they work at half the pressure. If you’re lucky enough to have a very big lawn, there might be better options for you.
The sprinkler sits squarely on the ground, so it also works best on flat surfaces. The base is weighted for stability, so you won’t have to worry about it shifting position as it sprays.
The position low to the ground means that the nozzles can get clogged with debris. Fortunately, it’s a simple matter to give them a quick clean, and the sprinkler will be back to working order.
Bear in mind that the three rotating sprinkler arms mean that this is a sprinkler that waters everywhere at once. So if you want to move it while it’s on, expect to get soaked! On the plus side, it’s great fun for kids wanting to cool down in hot weather.
This is an all-plastic sprinkler, so it will stand up well to the elements. And if you’re in a coastal area, you won’t have to worry about salt-laden sea breezes corroding the mechanism.
It’s solidly made too. And we’ve heard good things about how GrowGreen’s customer service responds if there’s a problem.
- Even watering over a maximum area of 3,600 square feet
- Adjustable nozzles allow you to change the sprinkling angle
- Copes well with lower water pressure
- You won’t be able to stay dry and move it while it’s on.
- The nozzles can get clogged up with debris.
2. Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
For rectangular gardens, an oscillating sprinkler works particularly well. This one from Melnor has a host of clever features to make sure it reaches every part of your lawn.
The key selling point here is the three-way adjustable controls. These allow you to change the width and length of the spray, and to adjust the scale of the sprinkler pattern.
If your lawn is long and thin, you’ll be able to reach the bottom without spraying water up your fences. And if it’s wider, you won’t have to worry about the edges staying dry.
The mechanism for adjusting the width is patented, so you won’t find it on any other brand of sprinkler. It uses a simple lever which you shift up and down. You can select a width of anywhere between 20 and 53 feet.
The range here is impressive. It will water anything up to 75 feet long, and up to 53 feet wide. The sprinkler is powered by a turbo-drive motor, and the flow can be controlled for precision watering. The flow regulating switch also means you can reduce the flow to stay dry while repositioning the sprinkler.
The water is dispensed through 18 nozzles. They’re designed to resist clogging up, and they do a good job.
So are there any negatives here?
Unfortunately, yes. The adjusting levers are made of plastic and they’re not as resilient as we’d like. Accidentally turn them the wrong way and they’re liable to snap.
- You can adjust both the length and width of spray for perfect coverage
- Handy flow regulator is useful for keeping you dry if you need to reposition the sprinkler
- Anti-clogging design works well to keep the nozzles free of debris
- The plastic adjusting levers are pretty fragile.
3. Nelson 818653-1001 Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain
If you’ve got a very large, open area of lawn to water, check out Nelson’s fabulously-named RainTrain. This clever sprinkler has been watering lawns since 1965, so it must be doing something right!
The ingenious design harnesses the power of your hosepipe to trundle around the garden. Just lay out the hose on the path you want it to follow. The water will power the transmission, which in turn rotates the back wheel. Hey presto, your traveling sprinkler will follow the path of the hose.
It comes with an auto shut-off ramp. Place the ramp at the end of the area you want to water and the RainTrain will climb up it and stop. So in theory, you should be able to lay out the hose and leave the sprinkler to do its thing.
It has three different speeds, depending on how much water you want it to dispense. Go slow for a heavier flow, faster for a light sprinkle.
The width of coverage can be adjusted by changing the angles of the sprinkler arms. Turn the ends down for a spray of 15 feet, or upwards to increase it up to 55 feet.
There are a few things to bear in mind, though. This is best used with standard hose, rather than anything heavy-duty. That’s because the water-filled hose will drag behind the sprinkler as it goes. That will slow it down and potentially cause it to get stuck.
The RainTrain will cope well with reasonably steep slopes, but bald patches on the grass are another matter. They’ll soften with the water that’s sprayed before the sprinkler reaches them, and the wheels are liable to get stuck. Avoid this by positioning your hose away from any bare patches of earth.
This is a great little gizmo, and it’s fun to watch. But for large areas, it’s not practical to just switch it on and forget about it. For best results, check on it every 10 minutes so you can give it a nudge it’s got stuck. And the auto shut-off doesn’t always work, so don’t leave it too long to check that either.
- Clever design will water up to 13,500 square feet
- Durable cast-iron body
- Fun to watch
- Auto shut-off isn’t reliable
- Liable to get stuck, particularly on bare patches of earth.
4. Rain Bird 25PJDAC Brass Impact Sprinkler
If you’re looking for a sprinkler to water a specific spot in your garden, the Rain Bird is a great choice. This top-quality sprinkler can be attached to either a pipe or hose, and will spray from 20 to 41 inches. It’s made of brass, bronze, and stainless steel, so should provide many seasons of use.
It can sprinkle over a full 360 degrees, or set it to focus on a particular spot. You can select an angle of anything from 20 to 340 degrees. The range is adjusted with a deflector flap.
There’s also a small screw positioned to hit the water stream, which breaks the spray into smaller droplets. The result is uniform watering and a light spray that’s easier on your lawn and plants.
The Rain Bird is designed so that the water flows through it in a straight line. That means it’s less likely to get clogged with debris. If you’re using water from a pond, say, that’s a very handy feature.
For a high output sprinkler, it’s efficient with its use of water too. The spray arm is made of die-cast white bronze and is designed to prevent splashing from the sides.
But perhaps the most distinctive feature of this sprinkler is the signature sound it makes. The gentle tsk-tsk-tsk of water is as evocative of summer evenings as the coo of a turtle dove. And it will give you the reassurance that your lawn is getting the watering it needs.
One thing to be aware of is that the watering pattern isn’t even over longer distances. If you want to irrigate grass 41 inches away, grass nearer the sprinkler will get much less water. The head has been known to get stuck in position every so often too.
- Great for watering a particular spot
- High-quality brass, bronze, and stainless steel construction
- Produces a lovely sound to relax with on a summer evening
- You’ll need to compromise on evenness of coverage to get the maximum range
- Sprinkler head has been known to stick in position.
5. Orbit 58322 Traveling Sprinkler
The Orbit traveling sprinkler copies the design of Nelson’s iconic RainTrain. It’s a little less expensive – so does that mean it compromises on quality?
Most of the features here are exactly the same as the Nelson. Both sprinklers travel along with a hose. And with both, you can choose a faster speed spraying less water, or go slower to spray more.
Both offer a spray radius of between 15 and 55 feet, and both are adjusted in the same way. They’ll cover the same area. And the ramp gadget that provides an auto shut-off feature for the Nelson is included with the Orbit too.
The sprinkler body is made of cast iron in both cases, and both have the disadvantage of plastic gears. These will wear out more quickly than metal ones, but are far less expensive. You could buy four brand new Orbits for the price of one traveling sprinkler with metal gears.
The most obvious difference between the Orbit and Nelson is purely aesthetic. Whereas Nelson’s RainTrain is painted a vivid yellow, the Orbit goes for more subtle forest green. If you prefer your sprinkler to blend into its surroundings, the Orbit will be more to your taste. It’s slightly smaller too.
Working in the same way as the Nelson, the Orbit has the same foibles when it comes to performance. Avoid running the hose over bare patches of the lawn if you don’t want it to get stuck. And keep an eye on the ramp with the auto shut-off – it’s not 100 percent reliable.
All in all, this is a good option for a cost-effective traveling sprinkler. And we like dark green too.
- Competitively priced traveling sprinkler
- Spray radius of between 15 and 55 feet
- Subtle dark green finish
- Prone to getting stuck on bumpy ground or bare earth
- The plastic gears aren’t as hard-wearing as metal versions
6. Gesentur Automatic 360 Rotating Adjustable Lawn Sprinkler
This rotating sprinkler from Gesentur has plenty to recommend it.
It attaches to the end of your hose and uses the water pressure from the tap to rotate its three arms. Each of these has four nozzles that spray out the water and can be adjusted from 45 to 90 degrees. The range is from 26 to 32.8ft, depending on the chosen angle and water pressure.
And if you fancy a change, it comes with an alternative butterfly sprinkler head. This will give you a smaller range of 3.3 to 16.4 feet. It’s a good option if you have a more compact area to irrigate.
If you have a more extensive plot, it’s also possible to link two or more of these sprinklers in a series. Bear in mind, though, that the water pressure will be lower and the range shorter as a result.
The base is shaped like a pair of butterfly wings, and it’s very stable. You won’t have to worry about it flipping over when you turn the water up high. In fact, the design means that the base is pressed into the ground as the water flows through.
It will cope with lower water pressure than many other sprinklers too.
So far, so good. The main issue we have with this sprinkler is the surprising number of parts for what’s a fairly basic design. Putting them together isn’t as easy as it could be.
Once it’s up and running though, it works well. And as well as watering your lawn, it’s a great design to cool down the kids on hot days.
- Works well even with low water pressure
- Stable design won’t move or flip over
- Choice of two sprinkler heads for larger or smaller coverage
- Overly complicated to assemble.
7. Sun Joe SJI-OMS16 Indestructible Metal Base Oscillating Sprinkler
This oscillating sprinkler comes with quite a claim from manufacturers Sun Joe – they say it’s indestructible! That’s the kind of thing we had to put to the test…
If you thought an “indestructible” sprinkler would be made of steel, you’d be wrong. The body of the unit is constructed from aluminum and the nozzles are made of plastic. But nevertheless, this is solidly made. And it comes with a two- year warranty. Not indestructible, perhaps, but certainly sturdy.
The metal body gives this a pleasing weight, so it won’t slide around or flip over as lighter sprinklers can. And you’ll be able to spray an impressive area – it will cover up to 3,600 square feet. Adjust the water pressure from your tap to change the length of spray.
There are sixteen nozzles and they’re all clog-resistant. It comes with a port cleaner too. We haven’t used it ourselves, but have heard that it’s sadly not that effective.
This sprinkler produces a fine, light spray – so if you have delicate flowers bordering your lawn they won’t be damaged. If you’re looking to spray larger quantities of water quickly, however, look for a sprinkler with bigger nozzles.
It’s not possible to adjust the width of the spray pattern with this model. If you want an oscillating sprinkler with that flexibility and are happy with a plastic base, go for Melnor’s version.
- Solid metal base offers superior stability
- Clog-resistant nozzles
- Light spray won’t damage delicate plants
- You won’t be able to adjust the width of the spray pattern
- The nozzles are narrow, so won’t lay down a lot of water fast.
If you’re still confused about which is the right sprinkler for your garden, we’re here to help. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision.
What shape is the space you want to water?
The first and most important issue to consider is the shape of your lawn. Is it long and thin? Square or round? Are there obstacles you want to avoid?
For long, thin lawns, oscillating sprinklers work a treat. They’ll rotate 180 degrees, flinging out water as they go. And if you want to avoid particular areas – soaking a fence, for example – look for ones that allow you to adjust the width of the spray.
Some will also allow you to stop the oscillation at a particular point. That’s a great feature if you want to sit it up against a wall and spray in just one direction.
If you’re looking to water a round or square lawn, go for a 360-degree rotating sprinkler. They’ll sit in the middle of the grass and water in all directions at once.
And if you’ve got a tricky shape to deal with, consider a traveling sprinkler. These clever little gadgets will follow any path you can set for your hose. Just bear in mind that too many twists and turns and they’re liable to get stuck.
Last but not least, an impact sprinkler is ideal if you want to water a specific section of your garden. They give best results when fixed to a pipe or tripod, but some can be used with a hose reel too.
Fast and furious or soft and slow?
Do you want to be able to water a large area fast? Or would you prefer a more delicate spray that won’t risk damaging neighboring flowers?
Look at the size of the nozzles to see how quickly the water will flow. Some sprinklers will allow you to fine-tune the strength of the spray. With others, it will simply depend on the flow from the tap.
And if you have low water pressure, look for sprinklers that will cope with this. Both 360-degree rotating models on our list will work well with lower pressure supplies.
Consider your local climate
If you’re in an area that gets very strong sunshine, plastic sprinklers can degrade over time. Metal options will last longer. They’re also heavier, so less prone to flipping or shifting out of position.
Conversely, if you’re near the sea, salt in the air can corrode metal sprinklers. In that case, plastic will be best.
The little extras
All these practicalities aside, sprinklers can be about more than watering your garden. If you’ve narrowed down your shortlist and are still finding it tough to choose, consider the fun factor!
If you’ve got children, sprinklers can be a great way to turn your garden into your very own water park. 360-degree rotating models work particularly well for this, as they spray in all directions at once.
We also love watching traveling sprinklers trundling about the garden. They don’t move fast, but they’re weirdly fascinating.
And if you want that classic sprinkler soundtrack, go for an impact sprinkler like the Rain Bird. Turn it on and relax to the sound of summer.
Ready to water that lawn?
That brings us to the end of our guide to the best lawn sprinklers available today. We hope it’s given you everything you need to pick the one that’s right for you.
Our favorite is the 360-degree rotating sprinkler from GrowGreen. It’s simple to install and gives even coverage over a large area. And it doubles as a fun way to cool down the kids on hot days!
Match the sprinkler to your conditions, and you’ll get lush grass with minimal effort all through the summer. And your neighbors will be lawn-green with envy!