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Sprinkler Buying Guide

Watering is no one’s favorite task, especially if you’re under community restrictions and only have specific days and times to water. It can be more of a hassle now with droughts on the rise and cities implementing such measures to protect their water source.

Thankfully we have sprinklers to help aid us in such an arbitrary task, but which one should you buy? That all depends on the area that needs to be watered, your patience and your budget. Here are the pros and cons of the three most prominent types of sprinklers.


Pulsating Sprinklers

This is the sprinkler with a rotating head atop that projects a pulsating stream of water in a circular area. The cheaper option features sprinkler heads on a metal spike and connection for the hose and costs around $8.

  • Pros: They are capable of watering a very large area. Some get up to 10,000 square feet at high pressure. These are ideal for rounded, curved or irregular-shaped lawns. They have a built-in capability of covering a specific area of an arc. It waters slowly and gently, rarely causing puddles or flooding.

  • Cons: The sound these make is what people tend to mimic when they’re thinking a sprinkler (There’s even a dance move!). They are noisier than most other types of sprinklers and don’t work too well under low pressure. It is not the best type to water rectangular areas.

  • What to look for: Before purchasing, look for a sprinkler made of zinc and brass. Both are sturdy long-lasting metals that won’t rust. Look for heads with a diffuser spring. This will allow you to adjust the sharpness of the stream for precise coverage. Lastly, look for a metal filter in the hose connector to prevent clogging.

Oscillating Sprinklers

Remember the sprinkler you would jump over in your yard as a child? It was probably an oscillating sprinkler. It’s typically a plastic or metal tube that waves back and forth like a metronome. These run about $10 to $30. The more expensive ones have more features and customization.

  • Pros: Perfect for watering large rectangular areas, which includes most lawns these days. They can water up to 4,000 square feet and operate perfectly under both high and low water pressure.

  • Cons: Using this type of sprinkler will actually result in a considerable amount of wasted water when trying to water irregularly-shaped areas. Cheaper models tend to linger at the end of the spray pattern, sometimes sputter and start to flood the ground.

  • What to look for: Look at sprinklers with 15 spray jets or more for maximum coverage. Pay mind to the speed of the sprinkler. Models that move quicker are less likely to puddle. Lastly, make sure there is a metal filter in the hose connector to prevent clogging.

Stationary Sprinklers

Stationary sprinklers are designed to water smaller areas. These simpler models usually water in one set pattern.

  • Pros: Cheap, non-moving parts and are designed for small areas. These are a great starting option if you’re still waiting to splurge on a bigger sprinkler or while you get to know the nature of your lawn. They also work well under low water pressure.

  • Cons: Typically, only waters in one set pattern and coverage area. These are not great for large areas and will cause flooding if left in one place for too long.

  • What to look for: First, a metal filter in the hose connector to prevent clogging. Models with a metal frame or build will last longer than ones made of plastic. Look for models with multiple spray turrets that are capable of generating multiple water patterns (This is found in the more expensive models).

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