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Best Above Ground Sprinkler Reviews

Whether you have a green lawn that you’re proud of and want to keep it in tip-top shape or you have a generous garden with herbs and fruits and vegetables that are just waiting to grow and enrich the taste of your future meals, an above-ground sprinkler system is the way to go. Even if you live in an area where you get just the right amount of rain for your gardening needs, are you 100% sure you can count on Mother Nature to deliver the precise quantity of water for your plants?

5 Best Above Ground Sprinkler Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageMelnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
  • Dimensions: 6.7” x 17.3” x 3.5”
  • Weight: 1.12 lbs.
  • Material type: plastic
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byb2-table__imageGesentur Lawn Sprinkler
  • Dimensions: 9.4” x 7.8” x 4”
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Material type: polymer & ABS plastic
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byb2-table__imageOrbit H2O-6 Gear Drive Sprinkler
  • Dimensions: 3” x 7” x 14.2”
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Material type: plastic
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byb2-table__imageRain Bird 32SASP Rotor Sprinkler
  • Dimensions: 2.3” x 15” x 2.3”
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Material type: plastic
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byb2-table__imageNelson 50180 Sprinkler
  • Dimensions: 14.9” x 14.6” x 4.1”
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Material type: plastic
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Basic Facts About Sprinkler Systems

There are a few things that you need to know before choosing one sprinkler over another. You will have to opt for a model that distributes the water evenly across specific surfaces. Second, you will need a sprinkler that matches the surface you want to water. If you place a sprinkler in a spot where it keeps watering a pathway, a driveway, your children’s play area or your dog’s house, you are not only wasting water, but you may be creating a dangerous environment in your yard (slippery surfaces, wet toys, etc.). While a sprinkler system will keep your yard fresh and green, there is a lot of debate on whether an above the ground sprinkler system is the right choice for a fruit or vegetable garden. The truth of the matter is, a lot of sprinkler models will only spray the surface part of your plants and may not be efficient enough to water the roots as well. For a healthy plant to grow, water needs to penetrate the soil in depth, nurturing your roots to expand under the soil’s surface. In such cases, an irrigation system is the best way to go, but this is very expensive and unless you grow fruits and vegetable for a living, it’s not worth to install an irrigation system. That’s how hose-end sprinklers became a thing: they are considered a cheaper alternative for homeowners who want beautiful lawns and gardens without having to spend a fortune on installing an irrigation system.

Pros & Cons of Having a Sprinkler System

If you opt for an above the ground automated sprinkler system, you will also get your lawn or garden watered at the right time and with the right amount of water. As most experts recommend, it is best to water the garden early in the morning, when the sun’s rays are absent or not powerful enough to evaporate the water in an instant. Thanks to automated sprinklers, you can set up a timer for watering to occur while you’re still sleeping in the morning or even if you are at work. As you’re caring for your garden, it’s important to water it with the indicated amount, to avoid oversaturation. Intelligent automated sprinkler systems are also capable of rain predictions that will postpone the watering schedule, to avoid drowning your greens. At first, it may seem that the following benefit has no room amongst the others, but picture this: how happy will your children be on those hot summer days when they’re playing under the sprinklers’ cool water droplets? Yes, sprinklers are not only an option for keeping your lawn healthy, they are also a fun activity for your children during hot summer days. As long as you convince them to put their smartphones and tablets aside, that is. In order for you to make an informed purchasing decision, you need to know that there are a couple of downsides to installing a sprinkler system. The first one would be the expense. Depending on the model that you choose, some are more expensive than others, but as you read through the article, you’ll find a number of above the ground sprinkler reviews that will help you make an informed choice. The second drawback steps forward when and if there are repairs to be made. The more advanced your irrigation system is, the fancier components it will have. That means that if something ever goes bonkers, like controllers, timers, the sprinkler heads or underground pipes, it may be difficult and quite costly to repair. Also take into consideration that most above the ground sprinklers are made of plastic, which is not the most solid material in the world.  

Types of Above Ground Sprinklers

As usual, the first time you get acquainted with a new type of home product you have to buy, you’re faced with impossible choices, as there are so many types and models to choose from. These choices will only seem impossible before you understand the different types of sprinklers that are currently available on the market. Once you understand the purpose that each of them serves, it will be easier to narrow down your choices to some that are most favorable to you. We’re going to talk about the 3 most common types of above the ground sprinklers.

Oscillating

First of all, we have the oscillating sprinklers. If you’ve ever seen a metronome, then you’ll easily understand how this type of system works: by releasing water waves that move back and forth (thus the term “oscillating”). This type of sprinkler can handle any surface of up to 4,000 square feet and can operate at both low and high water pressures. Since these sprinklers were mostly designed for rectangular areas, installing one in an area of another shape can cause some of your garden area to go by unwatered. If you want to prevent clogging, look for oscillating sprinklers that have a metal filter in the hose connector.

Pulsating

Pulsating sprinklers are designated for circular areas. They are ideal for larger gardens of up to 10,000 square feet and are capable of watering at very high-water pressure. They can also be set for particular areas of the surfaces. Compared to other types of sprinklers, pulsating ones are quite noisy, so they don’t make for a good companion if you want to enjoy a quiet day on the patio. When looking to buy a pulsating sprinkler, you can look for those that have a diffuser screw. This will allow the adjusting of the spray fineness and more yard coverage.

Stationary

If you have smaller areas you want to cover, stationary sprinklers are the right choice for you. A stationary sprinkler will water according to a specific pattern, be it square, rectangular or circular. They work best with low water pressure and are a very inexpensive choice. However, you can opt for more expensive models, that will allow you to benefit from multiple watering patterns, due to the several spray turrets. The major downside of this type of sprinkler is that it will cause puddles if you leave it in one place.

Top 5 Above Ground Sprinkler Reviews

Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 6.7” x 17.3” x 3.5”
  • Weight: 1.12 lbs.
  • Material type: plastic
Considered one of the best sprinklers by the Amazon customer community, the Melnor XT Turbo oscillating sprinkler can be purchased with a 1-way, 2-way or 3-way adjustment. It has the capacity to water a surface of 4,200 square feet and the featured tabs allow you to select the pattern of your choice, preferably the one that covers the greatest surface.
The TwinTouch feature is all about controlling the width, which means that both narrow and large yard owners should be covered. This means that you can avoid ending up with wet driveways and can keep water away from your children’s play area. The Zoom control is also a great feature, as you can narrow or expand the total watering surface, depending on the area you want to cover. This particular sprinkler is enhanced by the Infinity Turbo Drive motor, which runs smoothly without causing any puddles. While the product is indeed one of the best of its kind, there is some maintenance required. There are cases where the device stops working due to debris or dirt accumulation. In such a case, you are required to remove the sprinkler from the hose end and cleaning tool (at the end of the oscillator). Then, place it under a stream of running water and spin the tube back and forth for a couple of minutes. Make sure you do so gently, as the abrupt force can damage the sprinkler. After having completed this process, just screw the device back into its original position and you should be good to go.

Pros

  • Possibility to adjust the range, width, and flow of the water
  • Can water up to 4,200 square feet thanks to its 20 nozzles

Cons

  • Water flow can only be regulated from the faucet
  • Made of plastic, not as durable as the metal model

Gesentur Lawn Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 9.4” x 7.8” x 4”
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Material type: polymer & ABS plastic
With this particular above the ground sprinkler, you will benefit from different sprinkling modes. The minute you turn the water on, the sprinklers start rotating and spraying water that covers the entire lawn. The package includes a butterfly rotary sprinkler, with a spray range of 3.3 to 16.4 feet.
You can opt between the low or high-speed mode, which can be adjusted by rotating the nozzle to 15 or 45 degrees, respectively. The 3 arms that the sprinkler comes with make for a 360-degree watering, which is translated into speed and efficiency. Due to the fact that the nozzles can be spun and adjusted, you have several sprinkling patterns. The device itself is made from a combination of polymer and ABS plastic, all fixed on a sturdy base that prevents the sprinkler from ever moving or flipping over. Inside the package, you will also discover a leak-proof hose connector, which can be attached to your quick connector, if need be. The length of the area the sprinkler can cover is determined by your water source pressure.

Pros

  • Various spraying patterns for watering up to 32.8 feet
  • Very popular amongst customers with low water pressure

Cons

  • Only 1-year warranty
  • Instructions are not very clear

Orbit H2O-6 Gear Drive Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 3” x 7” x 14.2”
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Material type: plastic
Next, in line, we have the Orbit H2O-6 Gear Drive sprinkler. Just as the name suggests it, this particular sprinkler comes with a spray head that can be adjusted in 6 different positions. The Orbit comes with a diffuser already set in 3 positions which can cover up to 30 feet with the spray. You can also rotate the tabs from a 25 to a 360-degree angle.
A complete rotation can cover about 95% of your lawn or garden area. If you have a smaller lawn or portion that you need to water, you can establish a start and end rotation angle, from 10 to 50 degrees. This will help you save water and avoid a complete rotation that could end up watering undesired spaces. Probably the best feature of the Orbit H2O-6 Gear Drive sprinkler is the fact that it helps you save water. In addition to that, you can adjust the water flow type as well. By setting the flow to mist, you can create a dew-like effect. This helps avoid puddles, which not only oversaturate your lawn but also lead to loss of water.

Pros

  • Saves water by adjusting the start and end angles
  • The flow-through base allows the connection of multiple sprinklers in a series

Cons

  • Customers have reported a high number of faulty units

Rain Bird 32SASP Rotor Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 2.3” x 15” x 2.3”
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Material type: plastic
Next, we move onto Amazon’s editor choice in terms of above the ground sprinklers: the Rain Bird 32SASP. Just as the name suggests it, the Rain Bird has its own hose-end spiked rotor, which promises to deliver the same results as an underground rotor sprinkler. As delivered, the rotor is preset for a 180-degrees rotation. The top arc can easily be adjusted with the help of a flat screwdriver. You can increase or decrease this arc as you desire, starting from a smaller spraying pattern (at 20 degrees rotation). This sprinkler model is built in such a way that you can operate the adjustment of the top arc without having to turn off the sprinkler since the screw is exposed at all times.
The motor is water-lubricated, which should ensure a long life of smooth operating. The manufacturer has also implemented the Rain Curtain technology, which is translated into a nozzle that helps you save water by producing large droplets, resistant to wind. As for the spraying distance, it’s important to know that the Rain Bird can disperse water at a distance of maximum 32 feet (at a water pressure of 45 PSI).

Pros

  • Easy to adjust because of the exposed screw on the top arc
  • Uniform spray patterns

Cons

  • Faulty running when used with higher water pressure
  • Weak spike can bend when pushed into the ground with brute force

Nelson 50180 Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Dimensions: 14.9” x 14.6” x 4.1”
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Material type: plastic
Even at the first glance, you’ll notice that this Nelson sprinkler looks a bit different than all the others we’ve reviewed so far. That’s because the package is a bit more generous than with the other models. Upon purchasing a single package, you will get 5 x spray nozzles, 50 feet of tubing, 8 x goof plugs, 5 x tubing stakes, 5 nozzle adaptors and 10 x risers. Because of the huge number of parts, installation takes longer than with other models (although the manufacturer promises a 15-minutes install, customers have reported a 1-hour installation process), but as long as you follow the instructions, the process is pretty simple, and it doesn’t require any additional tools than the ones already included in the package. Each spray nozzle can be adjusted to water a 12’ diameter. After installation, it is recommended that you turn the water on at full pressure and then adjust it by twisting the head of each sprinkler. Since ever package includes 5 nozzles, you can calculate the distance needed between each of them, to avoid overlapping, and place them accordingly.

Pros

  • Included goof plugs, for solving hose-puncturing situations
  • Easy-to-understand instructions

Cons

  • Spray range is pretty low compared to other sprinkler models
  • The high number of parts require a longer installation time

Conclusion

Installing an above the ground sprinkler system is fruitful for a ton of reasons. Because almost every operation is performed… well… above the ground, you won’t end up damaging your landscape during installation. With all the models and spraying patterns available out there, you will benefit from high-efficiency watering because of uniform distribution. The fact that almost every nozzle comes with adjustable pressure and patterns allows you to customize watering levels depending on the size and type of crops. The Melnor XT Turbo oscillating sprinkler is our top choice, because of its capacity to cover wide areas of your garden/lawn, as well as the included number of features which are pretty generous considering the price of one unit. The Melnor is easy to use, but also easy to care for, as it is simple to clean it of dust, mud, and debris.

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she's not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

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