The Best Lawn Sprinklers Tested in 2023

We tested lawn and garden sprinklers, and our findings can help you keep the grass greenest on your side of the fence.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Jun 15, 2023 4:36 PM

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The Best Lawn Sprinkler System Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

One of the keys to a healthy lawn and garden is having a reliable sprinkler that effectively waters all the various spots in the landscape. We tested out some of today’s top models to see which ones live up to their reputations. Some sprinklers require pulling a hose across the lawn to reach all the little corners and nooks, while others can be programmed to move around the yard watering the grass while you tend to other matters. For stationary convenience, an underground sprinkler system with a sprinkler pump can run on a timer, and it will water all reaches of the yard.

We tested a variety of different sprinklers, and the following models came out on top. Keep reading to better understand what type of sprinkler can help meet the watering needs in your yard and to find out how each of the following sprinklers performed in our hands-on testing.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Dramm 9-Pattern Turret Sprinkler
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Gilmour 60-Spot Circle Sprinkler
  3. BEST OSCILLATING: Melnor XT Oscillating Sprinkler with Flow Control
  4. BEST FOR SMALL LAWNS: Gardena ZoomMaxx Oscillating Sprinkler
  5. BEST FOR GARDEN BEDS: Melnor 65083-AMZ Multi-Adjustable Sprinkler
Best Lawn Sprinkler

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Lawn Sprinklers

To pinpoint which types of sprinklers were best for certain tasks, such as watering large areas of grass or keeping a flowerbed well irrigated, I tested a variety of sprinkler types. I individually tested each sprinkler by assembling parts (if necessary) and then by attaching each to a garden hose. Then observed how it operated and whether it met the manufacturer’s watering claims. For adjustable sprinklers, I selected and observed each of the different watering patterns, taking note of the size of the watering patterns as well as the distribution of the water droplets.

The maximum water pressure at my outdoor spigot runs an average of 60 psi, but I didn’t test all the sprinklers at maximum pressure. I adjusted the pressure to suit the individual sprinkler, meaning I used a lower water pressure to water small areas of the flower garden and I used full pressure when testing lawn sprinklers. Unless a spigot has unusually low water pressure, the sprinklers in this lineup should perform well in most residential settings.

Best Lawn Sprinkler

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Our Top Picks

Yards and budgets vary so that no one sprinkler will be suitable for every yard, but I was impressed enough by the following sprinklers and their performance. I looked at the overall quality of the sprinkler and the potential durability of any moving parts. Part of my testing involved assessing how well each sprinkler lived up to the manufacturer’s description. After my testing, the following sprinklers came out on top. They are well-suited to various watering tasks, and they’re among the top options for watering lawns and gardens.

Best Overall

The Best Lawn Sprinkler Option: Dramm 9-Pattern Turret Sprinkler

With the flexibility of delivering a narrow strip of water or a triangular spray, among other patterns, the Dramm Duty sprinkler delivers just the right amount of water at the turn of a dial. It comes in a variety of cheerful colors. I chose bright cherry red, and the first thing I noticed was that the paint was more like a quality enamel than a thin coating.

The Dramm sprinkler features a heavy-duty metal base that weighs 14.4 ounces, so it didn’t move—as flimsy sprinklers are prone to do—when I turned on the water pressure. It sat perfectly flat and did not shift. It comes with an adjustable dial head that can be rotated to choose between the nine different spray patterns. Users can water long, narrow areas, circular spots, or virtually any other spot in the yard or garden without inadvertently watering a neighbor’s yard.

With just a quick rotation of the black ring, I selected the different watering patterns. Like many sprinklers, I was also able to control the width and distance by adjusting the water pressure at the spigot. The spray patterns are accurately depicted on the dial’s face, and each one offers a uniform water spray.

Product Specs

  • Type: Stationary turret
  • Material: Metal
  • Coverage: Up to 575 square feet, depending on pattern used


  • Heavy-duty metal base is sturdy and prevents tipping over
  • Quality enamel coating provides lasting protection from the elements
  • 9 different water patterns can suit a wide variety of garden shapes and sizes


  • Manual shutoff at sprinkler is less than ideal
  • Lacks full range compared to other options

Get the Dramm sprinkler at Amazon or Blain’s Farm & Fleet. 

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Lawn Sprinkler System Option: Gilmour 60-Spot Circle Sprinkler

At first, I almost didn’t see this little sprinkler in the bottom of the shipping box—it’s just 4.5 inches wide, 3-inches long, and stands less than 1 inch tall. It’s made to last, however, featuring long-wearing metal construction. The body is molded from metal, and a durable metal spray insert is firmly attached to the top. This Gilmore Spot Sprinkler isn’t going to be suitable for watering large yards, but it’s just the ticket for watering small nooks and spots that other sprinklers miss.

It sprays in a circular pattern that’s only adjustable by increasing or decreasing the water pressure at the spigot. The spray pattern is almost a perfect circle, and at maximum water pressure, it emitted a circle nearly 45 feet in diameter. The high water pressure caused the sprinkler to list slightly to one side, so I would recommend using low pressure to avoid this issue, or inserting a nail into the small hole at the top to help it remain flat if watering with high water pressure. I didn’t have to insert one as I opted to use relatively low water pressure instead. I found that this little gem produces a uniform spray and is best suited to watering small areas in landscaped beds, rock gardens, and anywhere else a bigger sprinkler would be overkill.

Product Specs

  • Type: Stationary
  • Material: Metal
  • Coverage: 30 feet diameter circle


  • Sizing is ideal for small nooks or gardens
  • Metal construction is durable and can stand up to frequent use
  • Affordable compared to other sprinkler options
  • Sprays in a circular pattern


  • Smaller coverage is not suitable for large yards
  • Can only be adjusted by adjusting the water at the spigot

Get the Gilmour sprinkler at Amazon, Target, or MSC Direct.

Best Oscillating

The Best Lawn Sprinkler System Option: Melnor XT Oscillating Sprinkler with Flow Control

The last oscillating sprinkler I’d owned was a classic aluminum model that always worked itself sideways while watering, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Melnor Turbo sprinkler stayed exactly where I placed it. Its broad base and solid design kept it firmly positioned, even when the water was turned to the highest pressure. Using the two sets of levers in the center of the sprinkler, I was able to adjust the width of the spray pattern from about 10 to 20 feet wide. By twisting the yellow ring on the end of the Turbo, I could change the length of the spray pattern from about 20 to nearly 50 feet.

The sprinkler’s rectangular oscillating head features 20 precision nozzles for uniform water distribution, and the unit comes with a nozzle-cleaning tool to quickly remove any blockages that might occur. The Turbo also features a metal filter washer in its hose fitting for trapping debris. The sprinkler is made from heavy-duty plastic and weighs 1.5 pounds. Perhaps my favorite feature on this one is the independent twisting hose connector—there’s no need to twist the hose or rotate the sprinkler to connect the two—just twist the plastic connector to quickly and securely attach the sprinkler.

Read our full review: Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler Review

Product Specs

  • Type: Oscillating
  • Material: Plastic
  • Coverage: Up to 4,500 square feet


  • Broad base with solid design resists tipping or wobbling
  • Adjustable spray length can suit a range of garden shapes and sizes
  • Features a nozzle-cleaning tool; no more blocked sprinkler holes


  • Not great for narrow spaces
  • Hose filter needs to be cleaned regularly

Get the Melnor XT sprinkler at Amazon.

Best for Small Lawns

The Best Lawn Sprinkler System Option: Gardena ZoomMaxx Oscillating Sprinkler

The first thing I noticed about the Gardena ZoomMaxx was how solid it was—it weighs 2.71 pounds—so it stayed firmly put when in use. This is a great little compact sprinkler that can be adjusted to water various size square and rectangular areas, from a small space about 8-foot by 8-foot, to a coverage area about 20-foot by 50-foot area. I was able to adjust the dimensions of the spray to water a narrow strip in my side yard and then readjust it to water a broader expanse of lawn.

The ZoomMaxx features 16 rubber nozzles on an oscillating head that moves back and forth with the pressure of the water. In addition, the sprinkler features a removable, washable filter for keeping debris out of the moving sprinkler parts. I was impressed by the quality of the materials on the Gardena—it seems to be built to stand the test of time.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oscillating
  • Material: Metal, plastic, and rubber
  • Coverage: Up to 2,400 square feet


  • Solid 2.71 pounds; stays firmly in place during use
  • Adjustable to water various lawn sizes
  • Flexible spray dimensions; great for narrow spaces


  • Adjustment nozzle can be stiff
  • Knobs limit the sprinkler’s reach

Get the Gardena sprinkler at Amazon or NewEgg.

Best for Garden Beds

The Best Lawn Sprinkler Option: Melnor 65083-AMZ Multi-Adjustable Sprinkler

It never fails; the direct-post sprayers that work so well for watering my garden plants and flowers in spring are soon too short to spray over the growing plants to water the ones behind. These multi-adjustable sprinklers from Melnor offer a workable solution. Along with three spike sprinklers, I received three 5-inch risers to elevate the sprinklers when needed.

Each sprinkler comes with an adjustable head that allows the user to select anywhere from a small stream of water to a 360-degree circular pattern. In addition, each sprinkler features both a male and a female hose-attachment end so all three can be connected via hoses. I found the plastic spikes to be well built and solid—they pushed easily into the ground, and I was able to adjust the spray on all three to where it watered my plants perfectly. For those with large or complex garden spots, a lot of watering time could be saved by connecting two or more of these spike sets. It eliminates the need to move a sprinkler around constantly.

Product Specs

  • Type: In-ground
  • Material: Plastic
  • Coverage: Up to 30 feet diameter per spike


  • Each sprinkler features a 360-degree circular pattern; great coverage
  • Spikes push easily into the ground; fast installation
  • Can connect multiple spike sets to suit any yard size


  • Lightweight plastic construction is less durable than metal options

Get the Melnor spike sprinkler at Amazon or Lowes.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Lawn Sprinkler

Lawn sprinklers are straightforward yard helpers. They disperse water in various spray patterns, and they’re powered by the pressure of the water in the hose. They can be made from a variety of materials, and some have moving parts, while others don’t. Individual watering needs are one of the top considerations when looking for the best sprinkler for a lawn or garden.


Lawn sprinklers fall into six primary categories, ranging from immobile to roaming. When choosing a sprinkler, consider the local climate and whether conserving water is a priority. Watering needs for a newly seeded lawn differ from the watering needs of a vegetable garden or an established lawn.

  • Fixed or stationary sprinklers vary in design and reach, but each connects to a garden hose and sprays water in the same pattern over the same area until moved. Typically only able to cover a radius of 5 to 15 feet at a time, this type of sprinkler is best suited for small yards and compact gardens.
  • Oscillating sprinklers feature a row of multiple openings to disperse water in a semicircular spray. The sprinkler head and the resulting water fan then move from side to side, so your irrigation covers a larger area than most stationary models.
  • Rotating or rotary and impact sprinklers 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. As a result, an impact sprinkler often boasts the farthest range of water distribution.
  • Sprinkler hoses are essentially rubber hoses with small perforations lined along the top that emit a fine, controlled spray. The length and flexibility of these models work well for watering long, narrow, and even irregularly curved patches of grass since they stretch out over your ground like a vine.
  • Traveling sprinklers roll through the yard (garden hose in tow) in a programmed pattern. Also called “lawn tractors,” they move like a miniature lawn mower while watering the grass.
  • In-ground sprinkler systems take the guesswork out of watering the yard by operating on a set schedule. While there’s more effort upfront to map out the watering system, dig trenches for water lines, and connect a new ground sprinkler system to the water main, the strategically placed sprinkler heads can be programmed to emerge from the ground and water the lawn at preset times. Many of today’s sprinkler system controllers are smart home capable, allowing the user to program the settings via a smart device. Choosing the right sprinkler pump for an in-ground system is based on the number of zones and available water pressure.


Plastic and metal are the two most common types of materials found in lawn sprinklers, but rubber and silicone can be found in some models. The quality of the materials varies, with some types of plastic being durable, heavy, and fade resistant. Other less expensive models may be thin, fade quickly, and become brittle in a season or two.

Metal sprinklers are typically a bit more durable than plastic, but the quality of the metal also varies. Rust-proof chrome and stainless steel are among the best metal materials for sprinklers. Many have moving parts, and those with sealed ball-bearing connectors will be among the most durable.

Coverage Area

Many of today’s lawn sprinklers come with the ability to adjust the pattern and distance of the water spray, often by adjusting a lever on the top or the side of the sprinkler. This allows the user to select various watering patterns and sizes, including circular- rectangular-, triangular-, and fan-shaped patterns.

Ultimately, the amount of water pressure in the hose will determine the maximum distance of the water pattern. For example, a distance-type impact sprinkler may be advertised as capable of shooting a stream up to 30 yards, but if the water pressure in the hose is low, the coverage area will be less. Most residential water systems feature pressure between 30 and 60 pounds per square inch (psi), and most sprinklers work best with a minimum of 30 psi of water pressure. However, a few require higher psi to reach their advertised coverage area.

Water Conservation

Watering the lawn consumes a good deal of water. If the hose is ½ inch in diameter and the water pressure is 60 psi, the average usage will be around 630 gallons during an hour of watering. As the garden-hose diameter increases, so does water usage. A ⅝-inch hose delivers approximately 1,020 gallons at the same water pressure, and a ¾-inch hose will deliver 1,860 gallons.

Some lawn sprinklers come equipped with features to help control water usage. On an in-ground sprinkler system, the use of automatic timers allows the user to schedule exact watering plans (when, where, and how much water) in advance. For aboveground sprinklers, comparable features to look for include auto-shutoffs and flow timers that monitor and limit the amount of water used.


Lawn sprinklers vary widely in quality, price, and the type of water pattern they disperse. Choosing the best lawn sprinkler requires considering the lawn’s or garden’s individual water needs. For some yards, more than one sprinkler may be necessary. For those just starting the sprinkler shopping process, here are answers to some popular questions.

Q. What should I look for in a sprinkler system?

Focus on quality, and make sure the sprinkler can be adjusted to the size and configuration of the area that needs watering.

Q. What is the best kind of garden sprinkler?

An efficient garden sprinkler should be able to reach all areas of the flower or vegetable garden without being blocked by tall plants. This may mean using a small rotating sprinkler and moving it from location to location as needed, or using a set of connecting sprinklers that can be positioned independently to cover all the plants at once.

Q. What kind of sprinkler covers the most area?

An oscillating sprinkler will cover a wide lawn expanse. A tractor-type sprinkler can be positioned at one end of a large lawn, and it will eventually work its way to the other end, watering a large swath along the way.

Q. How many minutes should you water your lawn?

Sprinklers dispense water at different rates, so rather than a set number of minutes, the general rule is to water enough so that the lawn receives 1 inch of water per week.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.