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, and many 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:

  • Innovative design
  • Lightweight and sturdy
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Saves up to 40% of water
  • Works effectively in various weather conditions
  • W ickless spray head arrangement

The Orbit 58308Z brass impact sprinkler on tripod base is an effective and amazing sprinkler that saves as much as 40% of water. It is light in weight and easy to install and maintain.

This sprinkler is efficient for watering small spaces like garden, courtyards, and so on. It works in all weather conditions. The sprinkler has a single-lever design that controls the flow of the watering. And, you can regulate its settings precisely to meet your watering needs.

The sprinkler has a unique Wickless Spray head arrangement. This arrangement helps to prevent mineral and lime build-up in the spray nozzles to keep the sprinkler working for a long time. The brass impact sprinkler possesses a sharp design and sturdy construction. This is the reason why it works quietly and effectively. It is simple to install and assemble. It only needs to be mounted on a sturdy base and there is no need of any complicated wiring or installation procedure.

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:

  • Fully automatic/semi automatic modes
  • Easy to use and install
  • Accurate and sensitive system
  • Durable

Cons:

  • No watering alerts
  • Easy to bend stubs when digging holes for hose connectors
  • Rough programming compared to the more expensive brands

The Rain Bird 32ETI is a semi-automatic sprinkler system that provides your lawn with the right amount of water at the right time. The Rain Bird 32E-TI can be set up and installed in just an hour. It is ideal for small yards and is a perfect choice for a family who wants to keep the long hours of watering to a minimum.

The 32E-TI is specifically designed to help you stay on track with your watering schedule so you never run out of water and never leave your roots dry for too long. It consists of a few key components — a controller, underground timer, an automatic valve and a few parts.

The controller and timer are waterproof and can control up to 7 stations. They offer you a variety of programs from a continuous stream to multiple zones. If, for example, you have a large yard with many areas to be watered, this is very easy to do.

3. Gardena ZoomMaxx Sprinkler on Sled Base

Our rating: 7 / 10

Gardena ZoomMaxx Sprinkler on Sled Base

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Pros:

  • Efficient and reliable
  • Timer for up to 4 programs
  • Easy to use and assemble

Cons:

  • The hose can be too short
  • Might be difficult to mount on walls

Gardena’s ZoomMaxx is an easy-to-use, plastic sprinkler on sled base with a wireless manual timer. The sprinkler has a child protection safety feature which turns it off when it’s been knocked over. It has a wide water discharge providing a spray up to 38 feet in diameter. The sprinkler automates water flow, which is controlled by a click wheel on the timer.

It comes with a handy remote control and hands-free setup so you can turn it on and off easily. The sprinkler uses 7W to run, which is very low, which makes it safe for the environment and energy-efficient. The sprinkler can water up to 12,199 square feet of garden.

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 13,500 Square Feet Yellow

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain 13,500 Square Feet Yellow

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Pros:

  • 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
  • Auto-shutoff after 12 hours

The Nelson Traveling Sprinkler has a large capacity of 13,500 square feet and is ideal for gardens, lawns, and nurseries. It has a diameter of 6 feet when fully extended and a diameter of 2 feet when collapsed.

With a full-circle rotation spray, the Nelson Traveling Sprinkler can cover a large area with water. It can be used for small gardens. It resembles a hose reel and is ideal for watering gardens that have architectural features like statues or water fountains.

This sprinkler has large wheels that help it roll over rough terrain. One downside is that the sprinkler may be a little flimsy when extended so make sure to keep the sprinkler upright when not in use. However if you need a traveling sprinkler that is easy to connect, the Nelson Traveling Sprinkler is the sprinkler for you.

5. Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Our rating: 6 / 10

Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

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Pros:

  • Oscillating sprinkler
  • Can cover up to a large 4,500 sq.ft.
  • Dual flow control
  • Sprinkles up to 27 different spray patterns
  • Sturdy construction
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to clean
  • Precise height adjustment
  • Sleek design
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Sprinkler head limit 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 the 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:

  • Very sturdy design
  • Comes with a 25-ft hose
  • Easy to install
  • Includes a limited warranty
  • Recommended for different types of use
  • No batteries required
  • Performs well on wet pavement

Cons:

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

(Warranty: 2-Years)

If you’re looking for the best lawn sprinkler but you’re not sure which type is right for you, this is a fantastic watering option. It’s one of the more affordable sprinklers on the market. It’s also very easy to operate, maintain, and install.

It’s made of a sturdy steel construction, which makes it not only durable, but easy to maneuver. It offers simple operation as well as a wide variety of patterns to cover your lawn or garden.

7. Gilmour 816783-1001 167SMB Heavy-Duty Adjustable Circular Sprinkler

Our rating: 6 / 10

Gilmour 816783-1001 167SMB Heavy-Duty Adjustable Circular Sprinkler

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Pros:

  • Carrying bag included for easy storage
  • Cheap but effective
  • Easy to dissemble and assemble the sprinkler

Cons:

  • The sprinkler comes with a short pipe
  • The screw fitting is prone to leaking

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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.

Are rotary sprinklers better?

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.

The oscillating sprinkler is different. It rotates on its axis and sprays water in an oscillating motion. This is a much more affordable option, and it’s convenient for watering large lawn areas.

Are traveling sprinklers worth it?

Although it’s easy to buy a sprinkler that you can move from one place to another, it’s not at all necessary. In fact, you’ll never need it and moving it around is a headache. As long as you keep it on your lawn, you can enjoy great watering (unless you have the unlucky combination of low pressure and a high water bill).

The only time you may need a traveling sprinkler is when you want to create a special effect for your kids, such as a round of raindrops. I’ve done that by placing an oscillating sprinkler inside my rain barrel (yes, it’s possible and relatively easy) and bringing it out on nice days. Children absolutely love it.

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 wild fires.

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