The Best Lawn Sprinkler Systems for Every Yard
Think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? You might need to invest in a better sprinkler. Check out our suggestions to help you keep up with the Joneses.
While your yard may take its fair share of work to maintain and manicure, it can actually be pretty easy to keep it from browning. The key to a lush green lawn is selecting and investing in a reliable lawn sprinkler. Hook nearly any of today’s models up to your garden hose and the bulk of your work is done—the most effort required on your part might be moving the sprinkler across your lawn. For even more convenience, consider an underground sprinkler system that’s set on a timer to ensure even watering no matter where you are.
Follow along to better understand what type of sprinkler will keep your lawn looking its greenest and to find out why we’re calling these six options our top picks for the best lawn sprinkler:
- BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR CUSTOMIZABLE COVERAGE: TZCER Dual-Head Rotating Sprinkler
- BEST TRAVELING LAWN SPRINKLER: Nelson RainTrain Traveling Sprinkler
- BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR FLOWERBED WATERING: Nelson Flower Watering Sprinkler System
- BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR TIGHT BUDGETS: Gilmore Circle Pattern Spot Sprinkler
- BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR PATTERN SPRINKLING: Dramm 9-Pattern Turret Sprinkler
- BEST DIY IN-GROUND SPRINKLER SYSTEM: Rain Bird In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System
Shopping for the Best Lawn Sprinkler
Know your sprinkler types.
Generally speaking, lawn sprinklers fall into six categories, ranging from immobile to actually roaming, in order to cover the full property. Consider the size and style of your lawn, the climate you live in, and how much water you want to conserve as you decide which type of system best meets your specific needs. Here’s a cheat sheet:
- Fixed or stationary sprinklers vary in design and reach, but each connects to your hose and sprays water in the same pattern over the same area until moved. Typically only able to cover a radius of five to 15 feet at a time, this type is best for small yards and gardens.
- Oscillating sprinklers use a row of multiple openings to disperse water in a semicircular spray. The sprinkler head—as well as the resulting fan of water—then moves from side to side, so your irrigation covers a larger area than most stationary models.
- Rotating (or rotary) and impact sprinklers both spin 360 degrees as they release water. The former typically has two or more arms that spin, while the latter (sometimes known as an impulse or pulsating sprinkler) spews water from a single jet, clicking as it turns its full rotation. These impact sprinklers often boast the largest range of water distribution.
- Sprinkler hoses are, as they sound, essentially rubber hoses with small perforations lined along the top that emit a controlled spray. The length and flexibility of these models work perfectly to water long, narrow, and even irregularly curved patches of grass since they stretch out over your property like a vine.
- Travelers or traveling sprinklers roll through your yard (garden hose in tow) in a programmed pattern, kind of like a miniature lawnmower—except, of course, watering your grass rather than cutting it.
- In-ground sprinkler systems take the guesswork out of watering your yard by operating on a set schedule. While there’s more effort upfront to map out, dig up your property, and connect a new system to your water main, the strategically placed sprinkler heads can be programmed to emerge from the ground and water the lawn at preset times.
Timing is everything.
With water restrictions in place all over the West Coast and conservation an all-around hot topic, at-home irrigation can require extensive planning—and a trusty alarm clock—to keep personal water usage in check without drying out your property. Luckily, the best lawn sprinklers come equipped with features to make sure your thirsty lawn gets just the right amount of refreshment.
- On in-ground sprinkler systems, automatic timers allow you to schedule exact watering plans (when, where, and how much water) in advance.
- For above-ground sprinklers, the most comparable features to look for include flow timers, which monitor and limit the amount of water you use to irrigate your lawn per minute, and the auto-shutoff on traveling sprinklers, which ensures that your mobile unit stops watering after completion of its pattern.
By selecting a model with one or more of these features, you can more closely control your water usage—and some time you might otherwise spend worrying about when to turn these lawn sprinklers on and off.
Best Lawn Sprinklers
All yards and gardens are different, but no matter what your watering needs, one of our top six sprinkler choices is right for you. All of the following sprinklers can be attached to a standard garden hose, and each one has been used and approved by homeowners just like you.
1. BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR CUSTOMIZABLE COVERAGE: TZCER Dual-Head Rotating Sprinkler ($19.99)
Whether you need to water a small area or half your yard, you can do it with the TZCER Dual-Head Rotating Sprinkler. Adjusting your coverage is as easy as swapping out sprinkling heads—this comes with two! One head features a three-arm rotating sprayer that forms a circular watering pattern up to 26 feet in diameter (just adjust water pressure at the faucet to select distance). The second option is a high-impact pulsating sprinkler head that can water up to 60 feet in a 45-, 90-, or full 360-degree area. Both attach to a tough plastic base designed to hold the sprinkler firmly in place during watering. Amazon buyers rave about the TZCER dual-head sprinkler, awarding it 4.9 out of 5 stars for its quick-change head operation and long-lasting service. Available from Amazon.
2. BEST TRAVELING LAWN SPRINKLER: Nelson RainTrain Traveling Sprinkler ($56.61)
Water your entire yard without ever changing the position of your sprinkler? It’s possible! The Nelson RainTrain Traveling Sprinkler makes it a snap to water extended areas of lawn. All you have to do is position your garden hose and the RainTrain will follow the path of the hose—up to 200 feet—while its two rotating arms water an adjustable swath from 15 to 55 feet wide, offering a maximum coverage area of 13,500 square feet in a single watering session. Amazon buyers love being able to “set it and forget it.” They give the RainTrain a hearty 4.1 stars for ease of use and for its automatic shut off when the sprinkler reaches the end of the hose. For whole-yard watering, this is the one! Available from Amazon.
3. BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR FLOWERBED WATERING: Nelson Flower Watering Sprinkler System ($52.48)
Flowerbeds incorporate a variety of colorful intrigue, often arranged in borders along fences and property lines, but watering them can be a chore due to their long and winding configurations. With the Nelson Flower Watering Sprinkler System, you can say goodbye to moving that tiny sprinkler every 15 minutes along your flowerbed. The Nelson watering system comes with five sprinkler spikes and 50 feet of tubing. Simply spread the tubing throughout the flowerbed and then position the sprinkler spikes where they’re needed most (they’re self-piercing and attach at any spot to the tubing). Each sprinkler spike can be adjusted to water up to a 12-foot in diameter circle, so you can create a custom watering pattern. Amazon buyers give the Nelson system an enthusiastic 4.4 stars for easy setup, calling it a “fantastic solution” to landscape and flowerbed watering. Available from Amazon.
4. BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR TIGHT BUDGETS: Gilmore Circle Pattern Spot Sprinkler ($3.39)
Keeping your lawn green and lush doesn’t mean you have to fork over a lot of money. Though the Gilmore Circle Pattern Spot Sprinkler rings up as the most affordable on our list of the best lawn sprinklers, it still boasts long-wearing metal construction. The sprinkler can be positioned anywhere in your yard where it will emit a circular watering pattern up to 30 feet in diameter. You can adjust the watering distance just by adjusting the water pressure at your faucet. For durability and a great price, Amazon buyers give the Gilmore sprinkler a robust 4.3 stars, but they mention that you’ll want to make sure your garden hose isn’t twisted when you lay it out to keep the sprinkler from turning over. Available from Amazon.
5. BEST LAWN SPRINKLER FOR PATTERN SPRINKLING: Dramm 9-Pattern Turret Sprinkler ($23.97)
Watering needs vary, but the Dramm 9-Pattern Turret Sprinkler has a solution for all of them! The sprinkler features a heavy-duty metal base and an adjustable dial head that can be rotated to select nine different spray patterns, including square, oblong, circular, and semi-circular, making the sprinkler suitable for lawns of all sizes and shapes. Amazon buyers say the Dramm sprinkler is “awesome for targeted watering” and “great for oddly shaped areas,” and they award it 4.2 stars for effective watering anywhere from a just a few feet up to 48 feet. Available from Amazon.
6. BEST DIY IN-GROUND SPRINKLER SYSTEM: Rain Bird In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System ($129.45)
If you’re interested in an in-ground system that you can “set and forget,” you may want to check out the Rain Bird In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System. This easy-installation model garners a 3.6-star rating from satisfied Amazon buyers. The manufacturer’s first professional-grade system designed for homeowner installation includes six high-efficiency, 360-degree rotary sprinkler heads and attaches to an outdoor faucet (rather than a water main valve) for setup in five steps, or a single afternoon! Available at Amazon.
Additional reporting by Amy Lynch.