What Are the Different Types of Lawn Sprinklers?

If you’re a homeowner, then you know that taking care of your lawn is important. And one of the most important aspects of lawn care is watering. Would you like to have a lush, green lawn without having to spend hours each week watering it? A lawn sprinkler can help make this possible.

When it comes to choosing the right lawn sprinkler for your yard, there are a lot of options to choose from. But what are the different types of lawn sprinklers? And which one is best for your needs? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of lawn sprinklers and explain what each one does.

We’ll also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each type so that you can make an informed decision when choosing a lawn sprinkler. So, whether you’re looking to buy your first lawn sprinkler or are just interested in learning more about them, keep reading and happy gardening!

Why Use a Sprinkler?

We’ve all been in that scenario where we have to water our lawn and flowers, but it’s just too much effort and time-consuming. This is when a sprinkler comes in really handy.

Sprinklers are useful for a variety of reasons. For example, you may use them to supplement rainfall and keep your grass healthy. Also, in the case of a fire or other catastrophe that makes tap water unavailable, you might be able utilize it as an emergency water supply.

Sprinklers are also an excellent method to give your grass a little boost of water in between times. If you’ve just planted grass seed, you should water it every day for at least six weeks, or until you’ve first given it a trim with your lawn mower.


Watering your grass may be environmentally friendly. A 50-foot square of grass absorbs carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone as well as other gases produced by automobiles and factories, in addition to providing enough oxygen for a family of four. In addition, the strong root system of healthy turf protects it from soil erosion and runoff.


Water is also essential for keeping your grass green and healthy, as well as giving you a beautiful lawn that may help enhance the curb appeal of your home. A lawn that is well kept and properly watered has been found to improve the value of your house by up to 15%.

However, there are certain times when you shouldn’t water your lawn. If you’re in a drought or on a hosepipe ban, watering your grass would be the wrong thing to do.

Parts of a Sprinkler

There are three main parts of a sprinkler when it’s set up in your yard. The first part is your garden hose. This is not necessarily part of the sprinkler product that you would purchase, and it should be already attached to your house or garage and set up in your back yard.

The vast majority of houses have some sort of water pipe or spigot that can be attached to a hose, but if your house does not have one, you will need to install it before buying a sprinkler.

The other two main parts of a sprinkler are the base, or body, and the nozzle, or head. The nozzle is where the water comes out, and the base is what holds the nozzle in place and keeps it steady.

Above Ground

Sprinkler systems that are set up above ground are quite simple. These types merely attach a device to your garden hose, and you can adjust the water pressure. You may have a body that serves as a base, with tiny holes in the nozzle that distribute water when the hose is turned on.

Below Ground

In-ground heads are generally more complex than above-ground heads. The form of the body will be determined by the type of sprinkler head involved. When not in use, pop-up sprinklers have a wider base and a body that retracts into it, making it sit underground.

The shape of a sprinkler’s nozzle is determined by what sort of spray pattern it is intended to produce and how many streams of water it can pump out at once.

Types of Lawn Sprinklers

Sprinklers come in a variety of styles and sizes, and which one to choose is ultimately dependent on your requirements. Some cover a smaller surface area, some have a more broad water distribution, some need manual activation, while others allow you to program them.

We’ve made a list of the most typical lawn sprinklers you are likely to see and use. If you are looking to purchase a sprinkler for your lawn, see our article on the best lawn sprinklers on the market.

Oscillating Sprinklers

Oscillating sprinklers are basically a perforated metal tube that swings back and forth in a pendulum motion, producing rain-like spray in an arc form and covering a large rectangular region of your grass; you can also adjust the area of coverage to be smaller or larger.

Oscillating sprinklers distribute water with precision and efficiency across your yard. They have an adjustable watering route and work in either square or rectangular watering patterns, are are suitable with any water pressure level, from low to high.

They can, however, break more frequently and are difficult to position correctly on uneven lawns.

Impact (Impulse) Sprinklers

Impact, or impulse, sprinklers spray in a wide circular radius around the center, and as they spin, they make a clicking sound. They have an adjustable circular coverage area, which is the widest reach of any sprinkler type, and are frequently employed on golf courses.

As compared to rotary sprinklers, impulse sprinklers have only one arm that rotates 360 degrees, and it clicks as it turns. These are best for watering shrubbery, trees, and lawns. However, flower beds aren’t a good fit since their strong stream can harm delicate blooms or leaves.

Stationary Sprinklers

Sprinklers that shoot water straight up in the air, then fall to the ground are known as stationary sprinklers. These sprinklers create the impression of rainfall on a lawn by shooting water straight up into the air and then having it pour down. Because these sprinklers target such a tiny area, they are most properly utilized for spot treatment or in a small garden.

Stationary sprinkler systems are among the simplest to install and service, as they typically have a few components that could break down. They’re also among the most cost-effective sprinkler types available.

Rotating (Rotary) Sprinklers

Rotating sprinklers also fire an arcing spray of water in all directions around their center, but they are quieter than impact sprinklers and have a shorter range. Because they emerge easily and smoothly from the ground, they’re popular among in-ground automatic sprinkler systems.

As opposed to impact sprinklers, rotary sprinklers have two or more arms that spin 360 around the base.

In-Ground Sprinklers

An in-ground sprinkler system is a sprinkler system that is hooked up to your home’s water supply and has been programmed to allow you control over when you water, how much water you use, and where you water.

Although there’s additional effort to plan out the watering system, dig trenches for water lines, and connect a new ground sprinkler system to the water main, once you set it up it is incredibly easy to run and maintain.

Smart home technologies are used to program sprinkler system controllers, allowing users to utilize a smartphone or tablet to customize settings. The number of zones and available water pressure are factors in determining the best sprinkler pump for an in-ground system.

Sprinkler Hoses

These aren’t really sprinkler systems, in the strictest sense. They’re a combination of sprinklers and garden hoses. A hose is punctured multiple times at certain distances and then laid out the grass.

These sprinklers have very little pressure, so they only spray a small area and are ideal for watering tiny pots or flower beds. These sprinkler system may also be used to combat weeds. You can also add fertilizer or herbicide into the sprinkler hose and apply it to the plants.

They’re usually one of the least expensive options, because they don’t come with a sprinkler base and nozzle, like the other types do.

Traveling Sprinklers

These types of sprinkler are relatively new. They include a sprinkler receptacle that travels along a length of hose to water various sections of your lawn. Some even have gear-driven wheels that move due to water pressure in the hose.

Sprinklers with this type of design are ideal for huge areas since they don’t require any maintenance once they’re set up. They work in any sort of yard, including hilly, uneven ground and terrain as long as the soil is hard enough. It gives deep, uniform watering to a large area, and is quite quiet.

However, traveling sprinklers are not advised for recently seeded lawns or regions, and they are often more expensive than other models.

Smart Sprinklers

Smart sprinklers run your automated watering system through Wi-Fi and connect with other smart home devices, allowing you to customize when the system should turn on. Some smart sprinkler systems include weather and rain sensors, and the majority are EPA WaterSense-certified, making them eligible for water savings rebates.

Other Considerations

When purchasing a lawn sprinkler, you should also consider the following.

Lawn Size

The size of your garden is a crucial consideration, as it influences the type of sprinkler you select. If you need to water a wide area, you’ll want a sprinkler that can shoot farther. This will help you save money by eliminating the expense of installing numerous sprinklers.

You may get away with using a sprinkler with less spray distance on a smaller plot of land. Check to see if you’re positioning your sprinkler in such a manner that it might harm small plants, or get things wet that you don’t want to be.

Spray Pattern

Spray patterns are one of the most important distinctions between sprinkler heads. Each head is intended to create a water flow that shoots from the nozzle and onto the plants surrounding it. There are three distinct types of sprays – fixed, rotating, and mist spray patterns.


A sprinkler head with a fixed spray pattern is intended to remain in place. The most common type has a number of thin streams of water that fan out from the center of a circular nozzle. The sprayed water generally has a range of 3 to 15 feet.

Depending on the objective of the particular sprinkler head, the fixed spray might be adjusted to fit the targeted region and can range from 40 degrees to a full 360 degrees.


A rotating head has the ability to turn over time, while a fixed spray pattern will stay consistent while the sprinkler is on. Rotating sprinkler heads are ideal for covering vast open areas. A rotating head may water up to 20 to 150 feet of surrounding grass and plant material. There are three distinct types of rotating heads available for purchase.


A sprinkler head with an impact rotating mechanism is generally made of mostly bronze or brass (as opposed to the plastic that is used in some gear-driven rotor heads). The impact rotor mechanism, because it is made of such strong materials, is extremely robust and long-lasting, and it can shoot water a considerable distance – usually up to 150 feet.


Gear-driven rotating heads are typically constructed of plastic parts and contain the moving elements within the sprinkler’s body. They may rotate anywhere from 40 to 360 degrees, with a radius of 18 to 55 feet, and are ideal for large yards or industrial and commercial settings.

Because the gear-driven head is entirely contained within the device’s body, it is much quieter than an impact rotor. They are also generally less expensive than impact rotors.

Large Turf Rotor

The third sort of rotating spray pattern is a big turf rotor. This equipment is typically utilized on golf courses, where a lot of mowed grass needs to be watered. This rotor can spray water up to 100 feet in all directions.


Some plants, for example succulents, require a precise spray pattern and will benefit from the use of a micro-spray or misting spray head. Because the mist produces less water per hour (typically in gallons per minute), this type of head is very cost effective.

A low-pressure spray system or a micro-spray may be sufficient for a tiny garden, such as a flowerbed. They’re also effective in clay soil, which is compact and slow-absorbing.


The two most popular materials in lawn sprinklers are plastic and metal, although rubber and silicone can be found in some models. Some kinds of plastic are long-lasting, heavy, and fade resistant, while other less expensive versions might be thin, fade fast, and become brittle with time.

Metal sprinklers are more durable than plastic sprinklers, but the quality of the metal also varies. Among the best metal materials for sprinklers are chrome and stainless steel, as these are resistant to rust. Many have moving parts, and those with sealed ball-bearing connections will be the most durable.

Water Conservation

Watering the grass requires a significant amount of water. The typical usage during an hour of watering is around 630 gallons with a 1/2-inch hose and 60 psi pressure. As the garden-hose diameter increases, so does water consumption. A 5/8-inch hose uses about 1,020 gallons at the same water pressure, and a hose that’s 3/4 inch in diameter will go through 1,860 gallons.

There are a variety of ways to reduce your water usage. Lawn sprinklers with the technology to help you manage your water amount are available. You can schedule watering routines (when, where, and how much water) in advance on an in-ground sprinkler system utilizing automatic timings. Similar features to search for on above-ground sprinklers include flow timers as well as auto-shutoff capabilities.


When it comes to choosing a sprinkler head, keep in mind not only what type of head will suit your requirements and fit your budget, but also that you’ll have to maintain it. Pop-up sprinklers are more expensive at first, but they may require less replacement because the lawn mower is less likely to damage them.

If you want to make sure your irrigation device runs well throughout the year, keep the grass around the head trimmed, raise it if it sags, and clean out any clogged debris. You’ll also need to “blow out” your sprinkler system in many regions once a year so that there isn’t water that has accumulated in the head when temperatures drop to below freezing.

Tips on How To Water Your Lawn With a Sprinkler

There are a few things to keep in mind on how to water your lawn with a sprinkler.

Watering early in the morning is optimal. This is significant because it will prevent the water from evaporating as quickly as it would if you watered it during the afternoon, when it’s hotter outside.

It’s best to water your lawn all at once. The ideal method to water is infrequent but deep watering, instead of more regular but shallow watering. It may appear as if you’re overwatering, but your grass will thank you later on. However, make sure you don’t overwater. Overwatering can cause a slew of issues with your lawn’s health. Try to do 1-1.5 hours of watering a day, all at once.

Another thing to keep in mind is the sort of soil you’re working with. Soil type has a big influence on how much water is required. You’ll need to provide shorter but more regular watering sessions if you have sandy soil.

Clay soil, on the other hand, requires less watering than sandy soils. However, when you water clay soil, you should water it for a longer time. If you have loam soil, you should water for a longer amount of time than if you have sandy soil, though not as long as if you have clay.

Summing Up

There you have it; a comprehensive guide to the different types of lawn sprinklers on the market. When it comes to watering your lawn, there are a lot of factors to consider, and it’s time to choose the right lawn sprinkler for your needs. We’ve looked at the different types of sprinklers and what you should consider when making your decision.

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand the benefits of each type of sprinkler and given you a few ideas on which one might work best for your home and garden. Keep in mind the environment, size of your lawn, and water conservation when selecting a sprinkler system – and don’t forget to factor in aesthetics, too!

With summer just around the corner, now is the time to get your garden ready for those hot days ahead. No matter which type of sprinkler you choose, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow them to ensure proper installation and maintenance. And most importantly, have fun with your new landscaping addition!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.