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Best Lawn Sprinkler: Healthier, Greener Lawns

Large and small lawns alike can benefit greatly from the use of a sprinkler throughout the year. Above ground sprinklers have a variety of sizes and shapes, have variable uses, and make them the perfect choice for both long and short-term uses. They also can be placed in areas that may be hard to reach with an inground sprinkler system. In-ground systems are convenient, dependable, and simple to use for seasonal uses.

The best lawn sprinklers keep your lawn green and lush looking and work with your own personal preferences to keep your property looking in tip-top shape. Below I’ve highlighted some of the current, best-rated lawn sprinklers to help provide you with an idea of the many types available for your use.

6 Best Lawn Sprinkler Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageRain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit
  • Type: In-ground
  • Size: variable
  • Footprint: up to 3000 sq foot
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageGilmour Circle Pattern Twin Spot Sprinkler
  • Type: Stationary Sprinkler
  • Size: 7.5 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Footprint: up to 707 sq. feet
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageNelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain
  • Type: Traveling
  • Size: 9.2 x 1 x 20.2 inches
  • Footprint: up to 13,500 square feet
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageMelnor XT Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler with Width & Range Control
  • Type: Oscillating
  • Size: 17.8 x 7.13 x 3.23 in
  • Footprint: up to 4200 square feet
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageOrbit 56186N Brass Impact Sprinkler on Wheeled Base
  • Type: Impact
  • Size: 13.5 x 12.5 x 4.4 in
  • Footprint: up to 2400 sq ft
CHECK PRICE
byb2-table__imageGAFYS Rotary High Impact Sprinkler System
  • Type: Rotary (with bonus impact sprinkler attachment)
  • Size: 10 x 8.2 x 3.4 inches
  • Footprint: up to 3600 sq ft
CHECK PRICE

Types of Lawn Sprinklers

Most lawn owners prefer an inground sprinkler system when considering how to best keep their property looking green and lush. Although they all work on the same premise, there are many to choose from to work with your own current water source. Unfortunately, this is not always a viable option due to budget constraints, water pressure, and supply options, or even zoning and the soils of the area you live within. Luckily, there are many, many different types of lawn sprinkler options from which to choose- most of which can hook right up to your own garden hose to get them where you need it most.

Inground Sprinkler Systems

Inground sprinkler systems are exactly how they sound- they are in ground watering sources that are piped from your main water supply and are set to a system that allows you to control where you water, when, and how much. Each system is a bit different from one another, and you can change out the types of sprinkler heads you use to better fit your yard size and shape.

Stationary Sprinklers

Stationary sprinklers have various head types to provide differing spray patterns to the areas you need watering. These are simple, inexpensive sprinklers that only water the areas you place them in. They put out quite a bit of water rather quickly, and are excellent for smaller areas. They can be used for large areas, but need to be moved from place to place to be effective.

Traveling Sprinklers

Traveling sprinklers are gear driven on wheels powered by the water moving through them, and use the garden hose as a guide to traverse across the area of your lawn you need water. These are great choices for larger lawns that require regular, even watering. Once you set up your path they can run without you having to move or adjust them until they have come to the end o the track.

Oscillating Sprinklers

These are popular urban sprinklers that most people grew up with running through on hot, summer days. These sprinklers move back and forth and create a rectangular pattern that often can cover a large area – making them ideal for front lawn watering choices. Their gentle water pattern and high spray is also a perfect pick for watering flower beds as it mimics a gentle rainfall- but can put out a significant amount of water.

Impact Sprinklers

Another top urban yard pick, these sprinklers can be adjusted to cover small 15-degree pie-shaped areas or rotate a fil 360 degrees to cover a larger area with a simple adjustment to the sprinkler head. Impact sprinklers use a powerful stream of water to move the arms in a circle in a low arc and are highly efficient for lawns, trees, and shrubbery. They are not, however, a good choice for flower beds as the water is often put out in a stronger stream that may damage delicate foliage and flowers.

Rotary Sprinklers

A rotary sprinkler is similar to a stationary sprinkler as it does have to stay in one area but spins in place as water is distributed through a series of arms. This covers a circular area and can be slightly adjusted by the amount of water pressure you provide. The gentle fall of the water is a preference for flower beds as well.

Why Should I Consider Having a Lawn Sprinkler?

Unless you want to spend just about every evening watering your lawn and garden beds by hand, you should consider having some sort of lawn sprinkler to keep your yard healthy – especially if you live in an area prone to a drier climate. Above ground sprinkler solutions are also a quick way to get water to your plants and lawn during the winter months if you live where snowfall is rare. A few days of watering when the weather is above freezing on an exposed lawn can mean the difference between a dry, brown yard come spring, or one that begins to emerge green as the weather warms.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Lawn Sprinkler

It is never a good idea to just go buy any sprinkler or invest in a system, without first doing a little research about what is available, and how each product works. You may want to approach your purchase with a few simple things in mind so you don’t become overwhelmed by the number of choices you will be faced with.

How large is your lawn?

The amount of lawn and the shape of your lawn are probably the most important considerations you need to take into account. If you have an extremely large area to water, you may want to invest in an in-ground system with a sprinkler controller – especially if sunny, dry days are a norm for the area you live within. But if you only have a small suburban yard to care for, then traveling choice for longer yards (although they can work in place), or an oscillating sprinkler may be more effective.

Do you garden beds that need to be watered?

As explained above, some sprinklers are not conducive to your more tender plants as they require a more rain-like watering or a complete lack of overhead watering. If you plan on including your garden beds in your watering solutions, you may want to consider sprinkler head choices that can work for both lawn and garden- or reconsider sprinkler placement in order to prevent damage from strong water spray.

Where do you plan on attaching your water source?

Another detail to consider is your water source and pressure. Not all inground systems can be supported by your source or pressure capabilities. You also need to take into account the location of your facets for above ground choices. If they are a far distance from where you need to water, you may want to consider running a new facet closer to your needs to avoid running long lengths of hose.

6 Top Rated Lawn Sprinkler Reviews

The top picks explained below are the top rated of each category explained above to allow you the opportunity to see what each model is capable of, and why it is a popular consumer pick. These were chosen due to their best lawn sprinkler review status amongst those who purchased and have been using each product.

Rain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit

Quick Info

  • Type: In-ground
  • Size: variable
  • Footprint: up to 3000 sq foot
  • Warranty: 1 year

If you aren’t keen on paying a company to install an in-ground sprinkler system for you, then Rain Bird is a DIY-er go to for ease and budget purposes. Rain Bird has an excellent name in the sprinkler industry and is one of the few companies that offers everything you need to set up your own underground system. Made to attach directly to your faucet, it includes an automatic timer and six retractable sprinkler heads to cover up to 3000 square feet of lawn.

Each head is able to provide a 40 to 360-degree arc to water up to 24-foot distances with simple adjustable features. The battery runtime allows you to set the days of the week and the duration you want your sprinklers to run, making it a hands (and worry) free operation through the growing season.

Pros

  • Covers a large footprint
  • Easy to install
  • Puts out a good amount of water

Cons

  • Faucet connector may leak (east to replace)
  • Cannot expand upon it
  • Timer not the best
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Pro tip

Perfect for small to medium sized lawns, this is a great choice for anyone who hates the hassle of having to set out and move sprinklers. The systems hook easily into your existing outdoor faucet and work only in temperatures above freezing.

Gilmour Circle Pattern Twin Spot Sprinkler

Quick Info

  • Type: Stationary Sprinkler
  • Size: 7.5 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Footprint: up to 707 sq. feet
  • Warranty: 3 years

Stationary sprinklers are popular for a variety of reasons: they are inexpensive, put out a lot of water very quickly, and last a long time. Of course. They must be moved frequently if you use them on lawn larger than the footprint they provide, but their gentle waterfall is great for both the lawn and flowerbeds, making them worth keeping in the garden shed as a useful tool.

This particular design has two heads that put out enough water to cover a 707 square foot pattern. The 30-foot diameter circular spray pattern is ideal for more circular areas of the lawn or coverage onto harder to reach areas. Made from lightweight aluminum, it is durable through all sorts of weather and can even work in winter if more temperate climates that require some light watering. It also has a clog-free opening.

Pros

  • Excellent water output
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Handy, long lasting, and budget friendly

Cons

  • Only covers small spaces
  • Must be physically moved from spot to spot
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Pro tip

Handy for all lawn and garden owners, this is great solutions for smaller lawns, or garden beds that need a gentle supply of larger amounts of watering. This is also a great solution for new lawn seed plantings.

Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain

Quick Info

  • Type: Traveling
  • Size: 9.2 x 1 x 20.2 inches
  • Footprint: up to 13,500 square feet
  • Warranty: 2 year

Rain train style traveling sprinklers are the best-kept secret and are sure to become your favorite sprinkler if you have a large lawn that needs consistent coverage. Powered by the water moving through the sprinkler, gears move your ‘train’ along the hose and spin the adjustable arms to provide the coverage you need to water your lawn and garden.

Made from durable cast iron, the sprinkler can actually work under three variable speeds to help control how much water is laid down. It also can be kept stationary as needed. As it travels along the path it waters in a variable diameter around it and has an automatic shut off-ramp that you connect to the start of your hose.

Pros

  • Covers large areas
  • Adjustable coverage and watering amount
  • Hands-free and easy to use after set up

Cons

  • May not move well over soft spots
  • May need to reposition hose depending on the heaviness of the hose
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Pro tip

If you have a larger yard and need dependable coverage without an in-ground system, this is definitely worth taking advantage of. All you need is a good length of garden hose and a route!

Melnor XT Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler with Width & Range Control

Quick Info

  • Type: Oscillating
  • Size: 17.8 x 7.13 x 3.23 in
  • Footprint: up to 4200 square feet
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited

Oscillating sprinklers are the sprinkler most kids grew up with running through every summer. These sprinklers wave back and forth and shoot multiple jets up into the air that falls in a gentle arch to water both lawns and gardens effectively and without a harsh stream. The durable plastic construction of this sprinkler has 20 rubber nozzles to avoid clogging from hard water and to provide consistent water pressure.

The 2-way adjustment allows you to water just a narrow strip or up to 4200 square feet of lawn at a time. It also provides you control over both width, and length of your coverage, an advanced feature most oscillating sprinklers don’t have. There also is a flow control and provides a heavier (or lower) concentration of water where you need it.

Pros

  • Provides good coverage
  • Adjustable features are great for flower beds
  • Great for lighter watering needs due to flow control

Cons

  • Could be a little heavier
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Pro tip

Rectangular and square areas of coverage benefit the most from this sprinkler, making it a popular suburban choice. Dependable, easy to use, and able to provide gentle, consistent water – this is a great choice to have when consistent watering is a must.

Orbit 56186N Brass Impact Sprinkler on Wheeled Base

Quick Info

  • Type: Impact
  • Size: 13.5 x 12.5 x 4.4 in
  • Footprint: up to 2400 sq ft
  • Warranty: 1 year

Impact sprinklers are so popular they even have a dance move. These types of sprinklers provide a large coverage of water in a strong arc to provide enough water to easily soak the area it is set over in very little time. This efficiency does require them to be moved regularly, which is a simple task due to the convenient wheels this model has. Brass fittings are strong and durable through the many hours of use you need it for, and the stainless steel control mechanism will last the lifetime of the product.

The hose also has a swivel connection, making your moving of the sprinkler from place to place that much easier. Plus, the head has up to a 28-foot diameter, providing you approximately between 2400 and 2500 square feet of coverage. Plus, it can be adjusted.

Pros

  • Easy to maneuver into place
  • Look nice and has a huge coverage
  • Heavy and durable

Cons

  • Strong water stream not great for more tender plants
  • Not a good choice for newly planted lawns
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Pro tip

If a strong, steady stream of falling water is what you need, look no further as this is a great sprinkler. The durable head interrupts the water pressure to avoid a damaging stream, but it is still a heavier waterfall, making it ideal for lawns, and not garden beds.

GAFYS Rotary High Impact Sprinkler System

Quick Info

  • Type: Rotary (with bonus impact sprinkler attachment)
  • Size: 10 x 8.2 x 3.4 inches
  • Footprint: up to 3600 sq ft
  • Warranty: 100% money back guarantee

This rotary style sprinkler combines an oscillating movement to its arms to provide even further watering coverage to your yard and garden spaces. The 360 rotation has an adjustable 40 to 90-degree nozzle angle ability to cover a larger amount of yard up to 34-feet in radius. As an added bonus, the sturdy butterfly shaped base also supports an impact sprinkler head that can be interchanged with the rotary head.

The durable, all plastic construction is made to withstand bumps and movement and is considered stable and constant for long-term use. You also can control water output by changing the water pressure as it works well with a lower pressure than many comparable models.

Pros

  • Two for the price of one
  • Works well under lower pressure
  • Very convenient and sturdy

Cons

  • Speed is not adjustable other than at faucet
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Pro tip

Whether you need a more gentle waterfall or a stronger impact, this is a great two for one option that provides an excellently sized footprint and durable construction.

Conclusion

Choosing the best sprinklers for the lawn isn’t; always the easiest task, especially if you are looking for a choice that can work both with a new lawn, and existing grass and garden beds. Personally, I think an inground system is the most convenient watering I have ever done, but I also have used each and every one of the above styles, and truly can say each has its own uses. In-ground systems aren’t always the best pick for everyone due to the various reasons touched on above, but our overall favorite is the Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain. Fully adjustable, it can be held stationary, or water huge lawns with the proper garden hose. You also can control how much water is put down, and as a proud owner of one, I can attest to how convenient and handy these actually are.

If you have any questions about the sprinklers we’ve provided here, or have a favorite style you want to see more of, please let us know below. And, as always, please share!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

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