The Best Pulsating Sprinkler

Homeowners everywhere buy fertilizer, weed killer, seed, and sod to make sure their front and backyard lawns look pristine season after season. Naturally, these lawn needs to be watered, too. And homeowners who take pride in having a perfectly manicured lawn also know one of the best ways to water those lawns is with the best pulsating sprinkler – especially if they don’t have a built-in sprinkler system. Finding the best one comes down to a few different features, but mostly it has to do with your lawn, its size, and the pulsating sprinkler performance. You can get all the answers you’re looking for when it comes to pulsating sprinklers – also known as impact sprinklers – in this guide. Plus, a handy collection of the best pulsating sprinkler reviews to help you pick the right one for your yards.

5 Best Pulsating Sprinkler Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
Rain Bird 25PJDAC Brass Impact Sprinkler, Adjustable 20° – 360° Pattern, 20-41′ Spray DistanceRain Bird 25PJDAC
  • Coverage: 5,200 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Brass, bronze, stainless steel
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ikris Garden Impulse Impact Sprinkler with Metal Sled Baseikris Garden Impulse Impact Sprinkler
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: Up to 360 degrees
  • Material: Aluminum
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Gilmour 167H Pulsating Sprinkler HeadGilmour 167H
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: Up to 360 degrees
  • Material: Brass, zinc
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Rain Bird P5RLSP Plastic Impact Sprinkler on Large Metal SpikeRain Bird P5RLSP
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Plastic, brass
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Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and DistanceMelnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler
  • Coverage: 5,600 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Zinc, aluminum
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What is a Pulsating Sprinkler?

In the world of sprinklers, there are several different types. If you grew up in a simpler time, and you were a child of a middle-class family, you might remember the pulsating type of sprinkler during the long summer break. Your parents, or a friend’s parents, would hook up the small triangular sprinkler to the garden hose, toss it out in the middle of the lawn, and let you guys have at it. After getting swimsuits on that were really meant for the pool, you’d run around the lawn in the powerful stream of water. Sometimes you’d dodge the water as it ticked from one position to the next, spraying water in one direction, and then another. Games would be created where all the kids would have to jump over the stream. And the lawn got watered. The simple contraption was also one of the most affordable and effective sprinklers a homeowner could have.

Rain Bird 25PJDAC Brass Impact Sprinkler, Adjustable 20° - 360° Pattern, 20-41' Spray Distance

Why Would You Want a Pulsating Sprinkler, Specifically?

With all the choice you have when it comes to sprinklers, why would a pulsating type of sprinkler be the best choice? It all comes down to your lawn and getting water down to the roots. There are a few situations in which you would want a pulsating or impact sprinkler, and one situation, in particular, you would not want one of these sprinklers.

The way a pulsating sprinkler works is simple and relies on a sprinkler head pivoting on a bearing. Some turn a full 360 degrees, while others cover a semi-circle instead. Water shoots out of the sprinkler in a powerful stream that can go quite a distance, and water falls from that stream, as well, watering everything in its path. Its power and position relative to a lawn mean it can really soak a yard thoroughly and quickly. The water penetrates deep into the soil and saturates more than the surface of the lawn. This means roots get the water it needs in a short amount of time.

Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and Distance

A pulsating or impact sprinkler is best for lawns that have already taken a stronghold in the ground. The power could damage young lawns, or push seeds off the yard and down a drain. Plus, the way a pulsating sprinkler works, because of its high velocity, the water isn’t going to be blown away by strong winds, nor will it evaporate too quickly. So, your yard gets the water it needs.

Generally, there are two types of pulsating sprinklers you can buy, and variations on each one. There’s the type that screws onto any good garden hose and you simply toss out onto your lawn. These are the most affordable and easiest to use. Some include spikes that allow you to hammer into your lawn, so they don’t move. Turn the water on too high with some of the freestanding ones, and it’ll do cartwheels on your yard. The other type installs on risers that are hooked up to an automatic sprinkler system. You’ll still get the same type of watering for your lawn, but the sprinkler is static and cannot be moved to another part of your yard unless you uninstall and reinstall on another riser.

It’s important to look at the radius your sprinkler will cover, and whether it offers partial or full coverage – or both. For example, a sprinkler with a 43-foot radius can typically cover about 5,800 square feet. You can adjust some so they only cover a semi-circle, rather than going a full rotation, which is important when you don’t want to water your neighbor’s car or the windows of your house.

Tips for Watering with Your Pulsating Sprinkler

Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and Distance

The trick to getting the best out of the best pulsating sprinkler is to know how much water your lawn needs, how often it needs water, and using the right accessories to help you achieve just the right amount of water and time each time.

Try to water your lawn only in the mornings or evenings. You want to aim for tossing your pulsating sprinkler out on the lawn before the sun gets too hot, so that’s between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. As the sun rises higher and gets hotter, the risk of evaporation and burn is higher. Water early and deeply to ensure the soil is saturated and takes all day to dry out. You can water after the sun sets, or just before it sets, but there’s a chance of mildew and fungi growth because your lawn won’t have time to dry out.

The amount of water your lawn needs depends a lot on the type of grass you have, the season, and the age of your lawn. Once you know how long it takes for your pulsating sprinkler to sink about 1/2 an inch of water into the soil, you should consider buying a timer for your sprinkler and hose. Set it to turn on twice per week in the mornings and run for about 15 minutes each time.

Top 5 Best Pulsating Sprinkler Reviews

Let’s figure out what the best impulse sprinkler is by taking a look at some of the best impulse sprinkler reviews!

Rain Bird 25PJDAC Brass Impact Sprinkler, Adjustable 20° – 360° Pattern, 20-41′ Spray Distance

Rain Bird 25PJDAC Brass Impact Sprinkler, Adjustable 20° – 360° Pattern, 20-41′ Spray Distance
  • Spray distance: 41 feet
  • Coverage: 5,200 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Brass, bronze, stainless steel
  • Installation: Risers
  • Connection: 1/2 inch male
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If the brand is important to you, then you’ll be happy to know that this brass pulsating sprinkler is made by Rain Bird, the company that invented and perfected this type of sprinkler. The brand has been manufacturing these sprinklers for nearly 100 years, and so you should expect high quality. The metal materials denote durability, so this sprinkler should last you years.

Most impact sprinklers offer an adjustable radius, but this one gives you more control than you might expect. You can adjust the deflector to spray 20 degrees to 360 degrees. The spray is strong and can cover up to 5,200 feet – or 41 feet at the farthest distance. This sprinkler won’t handle low water pressure very well, so you might not want to pick this up if that’s a limitation. It likely won’t rotate back around with low pressure. And if you get a defective unit, it can be difficult to figure out how to return it for a replacement, as customer service isn’t exactly on the ball.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Consistent spray
  • Adjustable radius

CONS

  • Not great for low pressure
  • Customer service questionable

PRO TIP

If you want one of the most powerful and long-reaching pulsating sprinklers on the market, this might be a good one for you.

ikris Garden Impulse Impact Sprinkler with Metal Sled Base

ikris Garden Impulse Impact Sprinkler with Metal Sled Base
  • Spray distance: N/A
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: Up to 360 degrees
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Installation: Hose
  • Connection: 3/4 inch female
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There’s a lot to love about the iKris Garden Impulse impact sprinkler. It’s easy to use if you know what you’re doing. If you haven’t used one of these pulsating sprinklers before, it may be a bit tricky at first. And it doesn’t help that the sprinkler doesn’t come with good instructions. You’ll have to play with the trip lever and butterfly collar to figure out the radius and coverage. There’s a small hex nut on top that lets you adjust the distance (short or long).

One of the great things about this affordable lawn sprinkler is that it lets you choose high or low spray intensity. That makes this a good sprinkler to use, even if you have a younger lawn. This is the type that you screw a garden hose into, and a standard garden hose should work just fine. Although it’s lightweight and made of aluminum, it doesn’t crawl across your lawn like some other pulsating sprinklers can do with high water pressure. There were many reports of the sprinkler not rotating back after only a few short weeks of use.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Choice of low, high intensity
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable radius
  • Doesn’t budge

CONS

  • Short life
  • No instructions included

PRO TIP

If you’re looking for a durable freestanding pulsating sprinkler to keep your lawn watered, this one could work well for you.If you’re looking for a durable freestanding pulsating sprinkler to keep your lawn watered, this one could work well for you.

Gilmour 167H Pulsating Sprinkler Head

Gilmour 167H Pulsating Sprinkler Head
  • Spray distance: 43 feet
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: Up to 360 degrees
  • Material: Brass, zinc
  • Installation: Risers
  • Connection: 1/2 inch male
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Sometimes all you need is a durable sprinkler head to replace one that’s seen better years, and this pulsating one from Gilmour gets high ratings from those who love the brand. It’s meant to attach to risers, and it’s well made for ease of use. The diffuser screw at the top lets you determine the distance of the water stream, and no tools are needed to adjust it. The max distance of water this sprinkler will shoot is 43 feet, and with its 360-degree coverage, you can water up to 5,800 feet.

Gilmour includes an impulse arm that reduces back and side splash, so the water goes exactly where you want it, and won’t water areas you don’t want to be watered. This sprinkler even works well with low water pressure, which is especially important if you have a limit on your water or you have your own well. The biggest issue with this pulsating sprinkler head is that it could malfunction early on and stop rotating. Plus, there seem to be some quality control issues. At least it’s one of the most affordable options.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Includes impulse arm
  • Adjustable radius
  • Works well with low pressure
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • May malfunction quickly
  • Quality control issues

PRO TIP

If you need a pulsating sprinkler head that’s easy to use and install, this could be a good choice for you.

Rain Bird P5RLSP Plastic Impact Sprinkler on Large Metal Spike

Rain Bird P5RLSP Plastic Impact Sprinkler on Large Metal Spike
  • Spray distance: 41 feet
  • Coverage: 5,800 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Plastic, brass
  • Installation: Hose
  • Connection: 3/4 inch female
Click For The Price

 

Although this Rain Bird pulsating sprinkler is made of plastic, it gets rave reviews for its performance. Plastic tends to be associated with subpar quality, but this one seems to hold up well over the duration of its life. The spray guide arm works well to keep back and side splash to a minimum, which means all the water gets to your lawn, and not your sidewalk or driveway. That’s assuming you’ve set up the radius properly.

While this sprinkler head is easy enough to use, the instructions included are a bit unclear, especially for those who aren’t familiar with sprinkler heads. The metal spike is 8 inches long, which you shove down into the ground and it holds the sprinkler steady while it’s going. Just screw a garden hose into the coupling and turn the water on. Although this is meant to work for large areas, it works better for medium-sized yards, as the water doesn’t seem to easily saturate the middle of the yard, under the spray.

PROS

  • Side, backsplash almost nonexistent
  • Adjustable radius
  • Works well with low pressure
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Instructions unclear
  • Doesn’t work well for large areas

PRO TIP

If you want a pulsating sprinkler head that uses a water hose and includes an attached metal spike to keep it static, you might do well with this one.

Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and Distance

Melnor Impact Lawn Sprinkler, Metal Head & Metal Sled, Adjustable Angle and Distance
  • Spray distance: 40 to 85 feet
  • Coverage: 5,600 feet
  • Pattern: 20 to 360 degrees
  • Material: Zinc, aluminum
  • Installation: Hose
  • Connection: 3/4 inch female
Click For The Price

 

It makes sense that the Melnor pulsating lawn sprinkler gets such great reviews when you consider its materials, craftsmanship, and warranty. A long warranty indicates that a company stands behind the quality of its products, and Melnor offers a seven-year warranty with this sprinkler. This is your garden variety sled-style pulsating sprinkler that has a female connector that works with standard garden hoses. It’s made of zinc and aluminum, which contributes to durability. However, it may still flip over with high water pressure.

This sprinkler works well to water almost any size lawn – the range of distance is 40 to 85 feet. Smaller yards might be tricky because you’re likely to have water wasted on the pavement. In fact, you might lose water to leaks, too, but an O ring can fix that issue. Still, this sprinkler can cover up to 5,600 feet, which makes this an excellent value. And it’s one of the most affordable sprinklers on the market.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Adjustable radius
  • Works well for large yards
  • Includes seven-year warranty

CONS

  • Leaks possible
  • Might flip over

PRO TIP

If you’re looking for a pulsating sprinkler that’s affordable and effective, this one might work for you.

Conclusion

Getting the right pulsating sprinkler for your lawn is important. You don’t want one that overshoots your lawn by 20 feet, but you don’t want to have to move the sprinkler multiple times to make sure you get full coverage either. There’s a happy medium when it comes to the best pulsating sprinkler, and its name is Gilmour. The Gilmour 167H Pulsating Sprinkler Head requires you to have some knowledge of sprinklers and the parts needed to install it, but it’s easy enough to use. The impulse arm prevents wasted water behind and to the sides of the head, and it’s a durable piece of equipment. This affordable pulsating sprinkler also works well with low water pressure, which is necessary for many homeowners.

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