If you’re planning to grow a healthy, lush-looking lawn, it’s crucial to ensure your lawn has all the water and oxygen it needs to produce strong, long, and healthy roots.
While in many areas, natural rainfall can provide for your lawn’s basic watering needs, in other parts of the world, that’s simply not the case. Spending hours watering your lawn by hand is a tedious prospect that very few of us are interested in pursuing.
Most lawns need about an inch to an inch and a half of water each week, either from watering or from natural rainfall. This amount can be applied either in one single watering or separated out into two waterings during the week.
It can be tough to know whether you are overwatering or underwatering your lawn. Plus, who has time to stand out in their lawn with a hose and water for hours each week?
Nobody, that’s who! Therefore, it’s essential that you invest in automatic sprinklers so you can spend less time watering – and more time enjoying that gorgeous lawn of yours (yes, perhaps with a cocktail of your own in hand!).
Here’s what you need to know.
Types of Lawn Sprinklers
There are three main types of lawn sprinklers you can consider on your search – traveling, oscillating, and in-ground sprinklers.
Traveling sprinklers are best for large areas, since you can program them to travel the distance so that you don’t have to do it manually. They roll around your yard much like a miniature lawnmower – except they water instead of cut.
You can also get an oscillating sprinkler, which has a series of openings that each release water in a semicircle pattern. The head moves side to side, covering more area at once than a stationary sprinkler (which can usually only reach about 15 feet). An oscillating sprinkler tends to be best for a small garden – unless you plan on setting up several dozen of these, that is.
Another type of sprinkler to consider is an in-ground sprinkler. These require more work upfront to install and schedule, but once you get them going, you’ll be glad you did. These sprinklers recess into the ground and emerge only when it’s time to water the lawn at preset times. They are efficient and easy to use, since everything can be fully automated.
You’ll likely need some professional help to set up one of these sprinkler systems, though, since you’ll have to map out your lines, dig up your property, and then connect the system to your water main just to get started.
These aren’t the only kinds of lawn sprinklers you can buy – other options include rotary and impact sprinkler (which spin 360 degrees as they water your lawn) and stationary sprinklers (which are set up much like oscillating sprinklers, except they only spray in one direction until you move them). These last two options are better suited for small, compact gardens instead of most lawns.
Features to Look For in a Lawn Sprinkler
There are several features you should pay attention to when you’re shopping around for the best lawn sprinkler.
First, consider how many settings you can program into your lawn sprinkler of choice. Various sprinklers have different settings for water pressure and timing. Try to pick a sprinkler with the most diverse settings. That way, you won’t have to worry about wasting water (or over-watering your garden) if the setting doesn’t match up to your lawn’s unique needs.
You’ll also want to consider your water supply and how well-equipped your supply is to meeting the demands of your sprinkler. Some can be quite labor-intensive to install, which is something to bear in mind if you don’t have the necessary skills to install (or use!) a sprinkler.
Choose the sprinkler with the settings that work best for you – and keep in mind that some have night settings so you can water your lawn according to local water restrictions and personal preferences. Others have automatic shut-off features so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it.
Range is another important feature to consider. You can find sprinklers with all kinds of water pressure and ranges, but make sure you check the range before you buy to ensure it will be large enough for your lawn (but also not too large, if you happen to have a lawn that’s on the smaller size).
Finally, there are some “bonus” features you might want to consider when shopping for a lawn sprinkler. Some come with specialized timers that can help you get rid of certain pests on your lawn (they have timers that are designed to deter them) while others can serve as a play sprinkler for children, too.
Best Traveling Lawn Sprinkler
Nelson Traveling Sprinkler
- Cast-iron body with chip resistant, powder-coat paint
- Coverage up to 13,500 square feet
- Travels up to 200 feet
This traveling lawn sprinkler by Nelson is one of the best you can buy if you want to be able to fully adjust to your lawn’s unique watering needs. It harnesses the power of water from your hose to navigate around your lawn, following a preset path as it does so.
The sprinkler comes with an automatic shut-off ramp to prevent water waste and has adjustable spray arms so you can reach every last inch of your lawn. The sprinkler body itself is made out of solid cast-iron that’s finished with chip-resistant paint – it’s not going to succumb to the elements any time soon.
You can set up this sprinkler and walk away, all without having to worry about wasting water. The spray arms can reach up to 55 feet in diameter, but you can bend them downward to dial in for a narrower coverage area. It comes with three speed settings, too – you can adjust the level of water saturation by changing how quickly the sprinkler moves around your lawn.
With the ability to cover 13,500 square feet, this traveling sprinkler is perfect for people who have large open areas to water – but don’t want to wait around for their sprinklers to finish up.
- Backed by a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee
- Adjustable spray arms let you change water saturation and speed
- Comes with automatic shut-off features
- Not the best for super hilly lawns
Watex WX44 Traveling Sprinkler
- Watex Traveling sprinkler ranked #1 Sprinkler by ezvid
- New Model - Durable construction, Ideal for extra large lawns; Self-Propelled,Superior water distribution,Automatic shut-off
- Recommended Water Pressure- 20 to 120 PSI / Water coverage to 13,500 sq. ft, travels up to 200 ft.
Another traveling sprinkler that should be at the top of your list is this option by Watex. It comes in several sizes, including 25, 50, and 65 feet. It is solidly built and is ideal for large lawns.
A self-propelled sprinkler, it offers excellent water distribution and comes with automatic shut-off features. With coverage up to 13,500 square feet, it’s perfect for big lawns that require a lot of water.
It too is made out of heavy-duty cast iron and can suit water pressures from 20 to 120 PSI. With a self-propelled, two-speed gearbox, this traveling sprinkler offers superior water distribution.
What’s truly remarkable about this lawn sprinkler is that you can buy a special bundle that includes both a traveling sprinkler and a sprinkler hose. This is ideal for people who have lawns where a traveling sprinkler might not be realistic, usually because of bumpy, uneven terrain or those that are heavily landscaped or bedded.
With this bundle, you’ll get two separate watering machines so you can irrigate all the nooks and crannies of your lawn – no problem.
- Great for narrow, irregular beds
- Comes with a sprinkler hose for strip style watering
- Backed by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Has a harder time watering when the ground is soft
Best Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler
Melnor Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
- 20 Precision nozzles provide maximum coverage of large lawns or gardens up to 4, 500 Sq. Ft.
- Twin touch controls adjust the width and range of the watering pattern to cover the whole yard or a narrow flower bed.
- Infinity turbo drive provides a smooth operation for even watering and extended life.
If an oscillating sprinkler is what you have in mind, you’ll want to consider this lawn sprinkler by Melnor. It comes with multiple adjustments – one way, two way, and three way – so you have plenty of options when it comes to irrigating your lawn.
Melnor is a well-respected brand when it comes to lawn irrigation, with all products manufactured right in the United States in the Shenandoah Valley. This sprinkler comes with twenty precision nozzles so you can water a lawn up to 4,500 square feet in size.
You’ll get twin touch controls so you can adjust the range and width of your watering pattern. It can be as large or as small as you would like. It also comes with an infinity turbo drive, which will give you smoother operation and more even watering.
Installing this lawn sprinkler is easy – all you have to do is quickly disconnect and connect the sprinkler with the Quick Connect PRoduct Adapter. No expensive or time-consuming install required.
- Easy to install
- Efficient and effective watering patterns
- Turbo drive helps you water more evenly with minimal water waste
- Can’t cover quite as big of an area
Aqua Joe SJI-OMS16 Indestructible Oscillating Sprinkler
- CUSTOMIZABLE: Completely customizable coverage patterns
- RANGE: Superior range width control covers up to 3600 sq ft
- DURABLE: Leak-resistant connection so you can water with peace of mind
For people who tend to be a bit harder on their gear, the Aqua Joe oscillating sprinkler is the perfect solution. This lawn sprinkler is fully customizable, with an optional range width control up to 3600 square feet.
Not only that, but it comes with leak-resistant connections. You will be able to water easily without having to worry about wasting water or damaging your lawn. It has sixteen nozzles that are designed to resist clogs, too.
Why might this matter? You might not think of it now, but one common issue that people face when watering their lawns is that the nozzles can easily become clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris – making water not only a hassle, but also wasteful.
This lawn sprinkler has a secure metal base for added durability and stability. The sealed turbo gear-driven unit offers some of the most reliable performance, season after season.
- Heavy-duty, hard to damage unit
- Comes with nozzles that resist clogs
- Can be fashioned with several different styles and types of hoses
- Only covers 3600 square feet
Best In-Ground Sprinkler
Rain Bird In-Ground Impact Sprinkler
- Eliminates hassle of sprinkler set-up and removal each time you water
- Installs in a single small hole without any trenching in your yard
- Works with your garden hose via a quick-connect fitting
Another excellent sprinkler to consider, this time in-ground, is the Rain Bird In-Ground Impact Sprinkler. Although you may need to spend a bit more time and money in getting it installed, rest assured that it’s a great pick for watering any size lawn.
If you’re worried about how in-ground sprinklers might tear up your lawn, you can set your fears aside with this convenient pick. It installs in one small, single hole, so you don’t have to worry about massive trenches being dug in your lawn. It hooks up quickly to your garden hose with a quick-connect fitting and will pop up to water before retracting in – you can mow right over it.
Although there’s some install involved, you can set this sprinkler up just once for all-seasons operation. It has adjustable coverage, allowing you to take care of medium- to large- areas of up to 5,200 square feet. It offers both 360-degree and 340-degree coverage with an infinite pattern adjustment. You will have the ultimate level of control over where your water goes!
- Can be customized further with a professional-grade timer
- Operates at pressures of 25-50 PSI
- Covers up to 5200 square feet
- Spray distance only a maximum of 41’
It doesn’t matter whether you are relying on natural rainfall or a sprinkler system to water your lawn. Either way, you will need to provide your lawn with at least an inch to an inch of a half of water per week. That’s a year-round estimate, of course – during the hottest days of summer, your watering needs will likely increase, but during the winter, they will probably go down.
Ideally, you should water two to three times per week, doing so deeply and thoroughly. Water as early in the morning as possible.
Oscillating sprinklers should run for anywhere between one to three hours per watering. This will allow each corner of your lawn to be saturated fully and deeply, without providing too much watering, which can lead to soggy, over-watered spots.