Best Lawn Sprinkler: Oscillating, Rotary, Stationary, or Traveling Types

Ed Wike
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Looking for the best lawn sprinkler? They come in many forms: oscillating, rotating, spraying, travel, rotary, water cannon, utility, impact, and popup versions are available as well.

Selecting the best lawn sprinkler for your specific requirements can be a lot of work. There are many different styles to choose from, each with advantages and some disadvantages. In order to make the shopping process easier, we have outlined the types of lawn sprinklers available for your consideration.

All in all, remember that the best lawn sprinkler for your lawn is the one that maximizes coverage with the least amount of water.

NameCategoryProduct
Orbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod BaseBest OverallOrbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod Base
Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal BaseBudget PickNelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal Base
Rain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System KitUpgrade PickRain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit

1. Orbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod Base

Our rating: 9 / 10

Orbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod Base

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Pros:

  • Large area coverage
  • Sprays up to 90 feet in diameter, covering 6,360 square feet when set to a full circle
  • Heavy-duty Brass
  • Easily adjust spray coverage from a partial section to full 360° watering
  • Customizable settings
  • Use the deflector shield and diffuser screw to alter the stream and change the spray distance radius
  • Stable tripod base
  • Metal, weighted tripod resists tipping
  • Tripod extends up to 48 inches to allow for adjustments as plants grow
  • Anti-backsplash arm
  • Flow-through design, resistant to clogs and ideal for secondary water
  • The gooseneck connection makes it easy to connect to your hose
  • Adjustable watering for ultimate flexibility
  • Innovative design
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Works effectively in various weather conditions

Cons:

  • Branded as commercial but fall way short.
  • The plastic is clearly not UV rated and brittle
  • The plastic that holds the legs in place snaps
  • It is not actually designed to be used outdoors / direct sun

Orbit's popular brass impact sprinkler on tripod base is perfect for large lawns and growing gardens. It towers over tall plants and features a brass impact head that’s capable of spraying distances up to 90 feet.

Orbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler’s brass construction can withstand high water pressures and severe weather conditions without the worry of breaking, rusting, or failing. The anti-backsplash arm improves the sprinkler’s ability to spray water in a consistent pattern and in the desired direction.

It's important to have a sprinkler that can fit the changing needs of your plants that are constantly growing. Totally adjustable, this sprinkler can meet those needs. Set the distance and the arc radius from 0-360 degrees. Coverage is fantastic for everything near and far.

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

Our rating: 7 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Waters your lawn automatically the whole season
  • Eliminates the constant hassle of moving garden hoses and making sprinkler adjustments
  • Attaches to an outside faucet and installs in one afternoon
  • Sprinklers retract into the ground for a clean uncluttered appearance and easy mowing
  • Covers medium size lawn areas from 1000 to 3000 sq. ft
  • Operates at normal average residential water pressures of 45 to 75 psi and 6 to 12 gallons per minute flow rate
  • Professional grade hose-end timer and dependable 32SA gear drive rotors
  • To ensure proper system operation watered area must be less than 6' above water source/hose bib
  • Use a specialized trenching shovel to dig the 1/2" tubing trenches
  • Considerably less expensive than a professionally installed system
  • Provides precise, even coverage along with true automatic watering convenience

Cons:

  • Don’t expand the system
  • Adding extra tubing or rotors can negatively impact performance and reduce spray distance
  • Rotors won't pop up or rotate
  • Poor quality timer
  • A lot more work than expected

Rain Bird 32ETI In-Ground Sprinkler System Kit is a fully automatic, in-ground sprinkler system for watering your lawn. You can spend your weekends enjoying your yard instead of constantly moving hose and sprinklers.

This high-quality Rain Bird system is designed for easy do-it-yourself installation and will help you maintain a beautiful, green lawn season after season. If you’re tired of brown spots in your yard and getting uneven results with manual watering, this new automatic system is the perfect solution.
Each kit includes everything needed to water a small-medium lawn area up to 3000 sq ft.

3. Gardena ZoomMaxx Sprinkler on Sled Base

Our rating: 7 / 10

Gardena ZoomMaxx Sprinkler on Sled Base

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Pros:

  • Compact oscillating sprinkler for the smallest areas
  • Fully adjustable controls for width, length, and water flow – area coverage of 76 sq ft – 2300 sq ft
  • Precise, even watering of lawns, beds, and hedges
  • Quiet and easy-to-handle sprinklers for small to large areas in the garden
  • With multiple settings

Cons:

  • The hose can be too short
  • Expensive
  • Not reliable
  • Although the warranty seems very good, it is really worthless because the company is non-responsive

GARDENA ZoomMaxX Oscillating Sprinkler on Weighted Sled Base. Compact oscillating sprinkler for the smallest areas. Fully adjustable controls for width, length, and water flow – area coverage of 76 sq ft – 2300 sq ft.

16 flexible rubber nozzles for even water distribution. Sealed turbo gear-driven unit with a large Sled base for stability. Integrated mechanical timer included that can be set from 1 min to 120 minutes.

Getting the unit connected to your garden hose won’t be a problem as it comes with a quick adaptor. It also features robust stainless steel screws, a convenient water protection cover, and a four-year warranty.

4. Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain

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Pros:

  • Cast-iron body with chip resistant, powder-coat paint
  • Coverage up to 13,500 square feet
  • Travels up to 200 feet
  • Adjustable aluminum spray arms provide coverage range from 15 feet to 55 feet in diameter
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Good choice if you need a portable sprinkler
  • Easy to connect
  • Traveling sprinkler puts out a 360-degree spray
  • Large wheels roll well over rough terrain

Cons:

  • A tad expensive for a portable sprinkler
  • Might be a tad flimsy when extended
  • Options for manual or automatic operation

The original traveling sprinkler, the Nelson Rain Train uses the power of water to navigate around the lawn following a customized hose path. This traveling sprinkler covers 13,500 sq. ft. as it travels 200 ft. at three different speeds for varying saturation. The heavy-duty cast iron body with chip-resistant powder coat paint is built to last.

When you’ve got an exceptionally large, open area to water, the fastest, easiest way to cover it is with a Rain Train traveling sprinkler. Both models travel up to 200 feet and cover as much as 13,500 square feet. Set them in place at your desired starting point, turn them on, and walk away.

A choice of three speeds lets you adjust the level of saturation to your lawn’s needs and automatic shutoff prevents water waste. Manufacturer’s limited 2-year warranty included.

5. Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Our rating: 6 / 10

Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

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Pros:

  • Large volume tube, Maximum pressure (PSI):100
  • 18 Precision rubber nozzles with the clog-resistant design even at high pressures
  • Clog resistant design and built-in flow control
  • Turbo-drive motor for extra long life
  • Patented one-touch width adjustable
  • 3-Way adjustments give you the control to water exactly where you want
  • 20 Precision nozzles cover up to 4,200 square feet
  • Easy to use tabs control the range of the watering pattern for precision watering
  • TwinTouch adjusters control the width so you can water a narrow area or a large lawn.
  • Zoom control adjusts the overall watering area
  • Zoom in for a small patch of newly seeded lawn or all the way out to cover a large section of the yard or flower bed

Cons:

  • Sprinkler head limits the height of up to 7ft.
  • Sprinkler head needs to be placed close to the end of your garden
  • Instructions could be better
  • Sprinkler needs to be installed in a mild weather setting

The Melnor XT Turbo sprinkler is a rotating and oscillating sprinkler. It can be used in a variety of different weather conditions, so you can enjoy it year-round. These sprinklers can cover up to 4500 square feet of your lawn or garden.

The sprinkler is made from high-quality plastic as well as metal. This makes it very sturdy and durable, so there is no risk of the sprinkler breaking. The sprinkler is designed to water different sized areas, so it can fit a 1.5-acre patch of land or a smaller backyard garden.

6. Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal Base

Our rating: 6 / 10

Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal Base

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Pros:

  • 8 pre-set patterns
  • Durable decorative metal base
  • Metal easy swivel coupling with ergonomic grip
  • The soft-grip sleeve on the head for easy pattern adjustment
  • 8 Pre-set watering patterns
  • Durable decorative metal base
  • 1-pound weight for stability
  • Soft grip on the multi-pattern head
  • Metal ergo swivel coupling
  • Very sturdy design
  • Comes with a 25-ft hose
  • Easy to install
  • Includes a limited warranty
  • Performs well on wet pavement

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a water shut off value
  • Some users report leaks

The Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler comes with a decorative metal base which makes it an attractive & useful addition to your yard. 8-Pattern metal stationary sprinkler with 8 pre-set watering patterns: halo, circle 1/4 circle, 1/2 circle, square, rectangle narrow strip & triangle durable, the decorative metal base for small areas, flower beds, or odd-shaped areas.

The LR Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler comes with a decorative metal base which makes it an attractive and useful addition to your yard. Soft grip on multi-pattern head metal ergo swivel. Coupling display card in tray 50956 mtl 8-pattern sprinkler

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which type of lawn sprinkler is best?

Convenience, durability, coverage, and flexibility are all things to consider when deciding on the kind of lawn sprinkler to buy. The stationary sprinklers are probably the best choice, but oscillating and traveling sprinklers are also good options. You can even combine the two for maximum performance and efficiency.

What is the best oscillating lawn sprinkler?

One of the key aspects of the best oscillating lawn sprinkler is its dimension. Larger lawns will require a more powerful sprinkler. The best oscillating lawn sprinkler should cover a space of about 8,000 square feet.

Those are the sprinklers that are advertised as doing that much. However, you may find some of them too large for your lawn and hence impractical to handle.
Another feature worth considering is the number of sprinkler heads. The best oscillating lawn sprinkler comes with at least eight sprinklers. However, before you choose a sprinkler, you’d better check the warranty. Considering the fact that this one’s definitely going to survive outdoors, the longer the warranty, the better.

The Melnor XT Turbo sprinkler is a rotating and oscillating sprinkler. It can be used in a variety of different weather conditions, so you can enjoy it year-round. These sprinklers can cover up to 4500 square feet of your lawn or garden. The sprinkler is made from high-quality plastic as well as metal.

Are rotary sprinklers better?

Yes, rotary sprinklers are better than stationary sprinklers. They don’t waste water and they keep the water uniformly distributed over the land.
In terms of design, the rotating sprinkler is very basic. It works by rotating its sprinkler head from side to side. This covers a wider area than the oscillating type while moving over the lawn in an arc.

The drawback of the rotating sprinkler is that only the area in front of the sprinkler gets water. Once the sprinkler head rotates over an area, all the water drains as it’s no longer in front of the sprinkler. The only way to keep areas surrounding the sprinkler soaked is to spread it out farther from the sprinkler.

Are traveling sprinklers worth it?

A traveling sprinkler is a convenient, painless, and mobile take on the conventional yard sprinkler. It's worth the buy if you're looking for an effortless way to ensure your yard or garden bed is sufficiently watered.
A traveling sprinkler made with wheels to automatically move around your lawn following the path of your hose and water it. Not many people have heard of or used a traveling sprinkler before but it’s truly a lifesaver for those who are too busy to do traditional gardening.

A traditional sprinkler needs you to move it every ten minutes, but a traveling sprinkler does not. So, you can save your time to do other works or relax. For lazy gardeners, this is a very useful machine because what you only need is to set up the moving direction for the traveling sprinkler and then sit or lie on the bench while it waters your lawns or flowers.

Conclusion

Lawn sprinklers and sprinkler heads are perhaps one of the most useful and fascinating garden tools of all time. They ensure even distribution of water to all the plants in the garden or yard. Other than watering the lawn, sprinklers are also great for washing vehicles, sterilizing large areas, and even delivering large quantities of water to the site of wildfires.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Orbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod BaseBest OverallOrbit 58308Z Brass Impact Sprinkler on Tripod Base
Nelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal BaseBudget PickNelson Eight-Pattern Spray Head Stationary Sprinkler Metal Base
Rain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System KitUpgrade PickRain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit