I Tested an Affordable Melnor Sprinkler—Did it Water My Lawn Efficiently?
Oscillating sprinklers have carved out a niche in the world of lawn watering. See how a popular one fared in our hands-on testing.
On a hot summer day, lawn sprinklers are a common sight, dispersing water for grass to stay healthy and for children and pets to frolic and keep cool. Oscillating sprinklers that create a swaying overhead arc of spray are a popular option for their affordable cost and dependability. We tested one of today’s top models, the Melnor 65074-AMZ XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler, to see if it lived up to our high standards. Keep reading to find out whether this sprinkler is suitable for your watering needs.
Verdict: We’re sold on the Melnor XT oscillating sprinkler for its easy-to-adjust spray coverage and quality construction.
- Quick-twist connection
- Adjustable spray pattern
- Integrated sediment filter
- On the lightweight side
- No way to anchor to the ground
- Limited spray width
What is the Melnor XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler?
Right out of the box, the Melnor sprinkler is impressive with its striking black and orange color combination. I liked the feel of the sprinkler—though it is a bit on the lightweight side. The Melnor sprinkler weighs in at under 2 pounds and measures about 17 inches long, with a base approximately 6.5 inches wide. The bottom of the oscillating cylinder sits low to the ground (about an inch), stabilizing the sprinkler and keeping it from shifting during operation.
I liked that the 20 spray nozzles located along the top of the cylinder are made from a more flexible material—a type of rigid rubber that should withstand cracking better than plastic. The sprinkler features orange plastic tabs near the center of the cylinder for adjusting the spray width and it has rotating rings at either end of the sprinkler for adjusting the range.
A concern that I had was that the Melnor sprinkler would shift on the lawn when I turned on the water since I’ve had oscillating sprinklers in the past that worked themselves sideways due to the water pressure. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find the sprinkler stayed put even when I turned on the water to full volume. Still, an anchor hole that allowed me to pin the sprinkler down would have been beneficial.
Is the Melnor Sprinkler Easy to Set Up?
Perhaps the feature I liked best on the Melnor sprinkler was its free-turning hose connector attachment. It can be frustrating—and involve a lot of twisting—to connect some sprinklers to a hose, but connecting this sprinkler is a snap. Instead of twisting the entire sprinkler to connect it to the hose, I just inserted the end of the hose in the sprinkler’s connector and gave the connector a few quick spins to securely connect the hose.
With the free-turning connector, I was able to attach my garden hose without trouble, and the connector fit snugly and didn’t leak. A sediment screen inside the connector is designed to keep out bits of sand and dirt—the debris that can end up in a hose and clog the inner workings of a sprinkler. The screen won’t filter out hard water, however, so if you live in an area where the water contains a lot of lime or calcium, it could shorten the life of the sprinkler.
How Well Does the Melnor Sprinkler Water a Lawn?
The Melnor sprinkler offers two-way spray pattern adjusting—the user can adjust both the width and the length of the spray pattern. Using the orange plastic tabs near the center of the cylinder, I could adjust the spray pattern to be as narrow as about 10 feet and as wide as about 20 feet. As a result, this sprinkler may not be suitable for small side yards narrower than 10 feet wide.
Users can adjust the range (length) of the spray pattern from about 10 feet to as far as 50 feet, which makes this oscillating sprinkler among the best options for large expanses of lawn.
One notable difference with the adjustments on the Melnor sprinkler is the ability to adjust each half of the spray pattern independently of the other half. This feature makes the sprinkler better suited to placement along the side of a house—or a property line—to keep from watering too much on one side while watering a wider pattern on the other side.
Is the Melnor Sprinkler Worth it?
At around $20, give or take a few dollars depending on where buyers purchase it, the Melnor sprinkler is both affordable and functional. The plastic cylinder is an upgrade from the standard, arched aluminum bar on earlier oscillating models, and its design keeps the sprinkler in place during watering.
I found this sprinkler to be priced competitively with similar models. I’ve spent more on steel impact sprinklers that delivered water a greater distance, but the Melnor sprinkler provided more uniform water coverage, which I think is essential for keeping a lawn healthy.
With this sprinkler, buyers aren’t paying extra for steel construction, although there may be some metal connections inside that are not visible—I didn’t want to disassemble the sprinkler to find out. All in all, it’s a reliable and good-quality oscillating sprinkler, and I was pretty pleased with its performance. Keep in mind, like all oscillating sprinklers, some evaporation is going to occur before the water reaches the lawn. Unlike a soaker hose that delivers water directly to the base of plants, an oscillating sprinkler directs fine sprays of water in the air.
Should You Choose the Melnor Sprinkler?
For those looking for an affordable oscillating sprinkler made from durable plastic and adjustable to a variety of widths and ranges, the Melnor sprinkler is among the best options. I tested all the available spray pattern adjustments on the Melnor sprinkler, and with each adjustment, its motion remained a gentle, almost hypnotic, arcing pattern with even water coverage.
Even though it’s lightweight, this sprinkler stays put during watering. However, I could see the sprinkler shifting if used with a tightly coiled hose that tips it to one side or the other. For best results, use a hose that lays flat when stretched out and won’t put undue twisting pressure on the sprinkler. An expandable hose is not suitable for use with this sprinkler.
I’ve had several oscillating sprinklers in the past, and the Melnor sprinkler ranks right at the top of my list of “best models.” While it’s not made from steel and the only rubber may be in the 20 nozzles, the sprinkler appears to be well-made and durable. The adjustment tabs and rings turn smoothly without needing to force them.
Overall, the Melnor sprinkler is a pretty decent model. While this sprinkler won’t last forever, it should last a few seasons―or even longer, in my judgment. Since it waters a large area when set to full width and range, a user could connect the hose to a sprinkler controller that would automatically water the lawn or garden.
Among the Best Oscillating Sprinklers
Lawn and garden sprinklers come in various designs and functions, but an oscillating sprinkler has been the go-to option for watering more expansive lawns for years. We chose this Melnor sprinkler as the Best Oscillating Sprinkler in a buyer’s guide and round-up, for which we tested and reviewed multiple sprinklers. It’s a step-up in both stability and uniform water distribution from earlier oscillating models and is well-suited for use on most lawns.