Do you want to avoid tiresome lawn watering chores but don’t have the budget for an underground sprinkler system? If so, the answer is to get a lawn sprinkler that is effective and affordable.
To help in your decision, I put together this lawn sprinkler buying guide where I review the five best lawn sprinklers, explain why you need one, and detail essential features to look for.
No matter which lawn sprinkler you choose, you can’t go wrong saving time, money, and water by using a quality sprinkler to keep your lawn and garden looking beautiful!
Important Sprinkler Features To Consider
|Settings||Needs To Be Adjustable|
|Setup||Easy To Setup And Move|
|Materials||Built With Durable And Rust Free Parts|
List Of The Best Lawn Sprinklers
Best Overall Oscillating Sprinkler
Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator
Reasons To Buy
- Lightweight and compact which makes it easy to move and store
- The Infinity turbo drive delivers reliable oscillating performance that prevents pooling of water
- Comes with 20 nozzles for ample watering up to 4500 square feet
- Three adjustment settings for width, length, and total area for better control and less water waste
- Quick-connect fittings make it easier to remove or attach hose
- Price is affordable for even smaller budgets
Reasons To Avoid
- Poor gear quality may wear out over time and prevent the sprinkler from oscillating correctly
- Lightweight plastic adjustment tabs can break
The Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator is an affordable, low profile sprinkler that can cover a wide range of watering needs.
I like the ability to adjust the watering pattern by just sliding the tabs, so each area gets the perfect amount of water. Wide or skinny spray patterns deliver ample water for a good lawn and garden soak, while the zoom feature allows you to pinpoint a tiny area.
On the downside, the plastic components feel a bit thin and can be prone to breakage if not careful. Also, the quick-connect fitting doesn’t come with it’s the counterpart for your hose end, which means an extra purchase.
The Melnor 65055-AMZ XT Metal Turbo Oscillator has a spot on this list for its effective lawn watering coverage that has impressive customization settings. This model is best for homeowners on a tight budget with any size lawn who want one sprinkler that can tackle many watering jobs.
Best Budget Friendly For Medium-Sized Lawns
Orbit Metal 3-Arm Sprinkler With Wheeled Base
Reasons To Buy
- Wide enough coverage to handle even larger lawns
- Adjustable spray diameter for more precision watering with less waste
- Versatile male and female hose connectors allow you to attach more hose and another sprinkler head in the same line
- Durable metal construction should hold up to years of regular use
- Budget-friendly pricing for a convenient lawn watering solution
- Wheels help move the sprinkler to a new location without damaging the grass
Reasons To Avoid
- Spray cap and arm components may slide off after continual use
- Tends to not deliver water close to the base, which could cause dry patches
The Orbit 3-Arm Sprinkler with Wheeled Base is another affordable, yet serious lawn watering solution that delivers spray evenly in a circular pattern.
I like the small size, yet powerful jets that are adjustable to cover up to a 24-foot diameter. The spray pattern on each arm includes a jet and a mist that helps water evenly. I also am a fan of the sturdy metal components and paint job that can withstand the elements.
On the downside, the circular spray pattern coverage misses the grass nearest to the base by a foot or so. The arms and caps are sometimes poorly attached, which can result in them popping off under high water pressure.
I give the Orbit 58257N Metal 3-Arm Sprinkler with Wheeled Base a place in the top five because of the sturdy metal build and wide spray pattern. This model sprinkler is best for homeowners with small to medium size lawns that don’t mind having fewer adjustability options for the spray pattern.
Best All-Plastic Lawn Sprinkler
WOVUU Garden Sprinkler 360 Degree
Reasons To Buy
- Wide sweeping action of the spray can reach up to 49 feet in diameter
- Each easy-to-adjust nozzle has three options for spray pattern
- Rust-free, ABS plastic is extremely durable, even under rough conditions which should help it last for years
- Comes with an array of accessories for even more convenience
- Handy instruction manual helps you get the most benefit from the sprinkler
- Redesign of the base is wider and more square, which prevents tip overs
Reasons To Avoid
- Misses the area directly next to the base, which can leave dry patches
- Without good cleaning after each use the nozzles or rotation mechanisms can clog up and quit working
The WOVUU Garden Sprinkler goes a step above by featuring a unique 360-degree rotation along with lines of nozzles at the end of each arm that are super effective for total lawn watering.
I like the tough ABS plastic construction and the myriad of adjustability options for the spray nozzles as well as both male and female hose connectors that allow multiple sprinklers to attach to the same hose. I also appreciate the stable broad base that will not tip over during use.
On the downside, the spray still misses the area close to the base, which can leave grass sections dry. Another issue is that the nozzles can clog easily so you have to clean them well after use.
The WOVUU Garden Sprinkler a top choice because it provides even more coverage and spray pattern options than other styles. This model is ideal for homeowners with a large yard who want even watering without a lot of fuss.
Best Spike Styled Sprinkler
Melnor MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
Reasons To Buy
- More watering control, from spot-treating a small area to wide and full coverage
- Four adjustments let you fine-tune each watering session for less waste
- Quick-connect adapter makes hose connection and removal simple
- Very quick and easy to pop into the lawn and set the controls for optimal watering coverage
- Works especially well for long and narrow strips of grass without overspray
Reasons To Avoid
- Plastic components can leak or crack over time
- No instructions for operation, but it is fairly self-explanatory
- Issues with the oscillating function randomly turning off and on
These Melnor MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler brings all the convenience of a traditional oscillating style but packages it into a mini, yet powerful, design you can pop into your lawn on its handy spike wherever it needs watering.
I like four adjustability options that let you customize the way it sprays. Just move the controller tabs to set the width, length, and rotation of spray, as well as control water flow. The quick-connect adapter is another bonus that allows faster hose attachment.
On the downside, the plastic components can break if you don’t treat the sprinkler with care. The oscillating pattern sometimes jams up, which can be troublesome if not caught right away.
The Melnor 65031-AMZ MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler makes the list for its ability to water only a few square feet on up to 3900 square feet with precision. This model is best for homeowners with tidy squares or strips of lawn with flat or rolling terrain.
Best For Very Large Lawns
Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain
Reasons To Buy
- Wide coverage range of up to 13,500 square feet can handle large or curved lawns
- Adjustable sprayer arms offer a custom range to suit your lawn perfectly
- Three options for speed and an automatic shut-off ramp mean you don’t have to watch the clock during use
- High-quality construction with long-lasting durability which increases overall value
- Spikes on the wheels help it grab onto grass and soil for continual forward motion
Reasons To Avoid
- Works best over flat surfaces so avoid this model if your lawn has any amount of sloping terrain
- The train can get stuck in tall grass or mud so use after mowing and avoid open soil areas
These Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain brings toy-like fun to your lawn maintenance chores.
I like how this super durable cast-iron sprinkler can travel up to two hundred feet across the lawn while following the hose “track” you position, so all your grass and plants get a drink. The twirling arms are conveniently adjustable, so the spray can reach in diameter from 15 to 55 feet, which is an enormous range.
On the downside, this sprinkler takes practice to get it to function correctly. The train can also get stuck in deep grass or even fall over, which can create quite a mess if you don’t notice it right away.
The Nelson Traveling Sprinkler RainTrain is on this list for being the best traveling sprinkler that can cover a wide range of watering needs. This model is best for homeowners with large or curvy lawns that are relatively flat.
Do You Really Need A Lawn Sprinkler?
As a longtime homeowner, I can vouch for the fact that while you don’t necessarily need a lawn sprinkler, they sure do help with the following:
A sprinkler makes it easy to cut down on time it takes to water your lawn and landscaping plants. Just hook up a hose, set the head in place, and let the sprinkler do the work.
When one area finishes, it only takes a minute to move it to a new section. The time you would typically spend standing there spraying your grass with a hose you can now spend doing more enjoyable tasks.
Reduces Water Waste
A good sprinkler, set with the ideal coverage for your yard, also reduces your water bill because you are not wasting water from runoff or evaporation that can happen with other types of watering routines.
Helps Maintain A Nice Lawn
General upkeep issues with your lawn like dead areas or weeds due to inadequate moisture conditions are another factor that a quality sprinkler can help deter. Many people fail to water deeply enough while using a hose to water their lawn since it takes too much time.
Setting a sprinkler up allows good water penetration that builds a deep and robust root system that keeps your grass looking full and crowds out potential weed growth.
Let’s look at the things you need to consider before making a final decision on which model lawn sprinkler will best suit your needs.
The type of sprinkler you purchase will depend on the hose size and shape of your lawn.
Fixed or stationary lawn sprinklers are the cheapest type to purchase, but they only offer a single spray pattern. Depending on the design, this may or may not work for your small lawn.
Oscillating sprinklers have a static spraying motion that will only cover a specific size area. This style has a central cylinder with a line of holes that delivers an arc-motion spray that travels between 90 to 180-degrees back and forth.
Oscillating lawn sprinklers are best for smaller yards since the range tops out at around 15-20 feet and are also the go-to style for a kid cooldown during playtime.
Traveling sprinklers can automatically move along a set pattern you can personalize to your space and offer a 360-degree water spray, which makes them most suitable to larger or oddly shaped yards. Lay down your track, set the sprinkler, and watch it go.
For the most “one-placement” range, look into an impact sprinkler that releases water as it completes a full circle. As the sprinkler pulsates, it delivers water both near the sprinkler head as well as through the furthest range, so most of your lawn gets coverage.
The range each type of sprinkler delivers is a mixture of water pressure and the shape and action of the sprinkler head.
Measure out your lawn, so you have an idea of what size area you need to cover.
Small yards can get adequate watering with a low-range sprinkler, while on an extensive lawn, you would have to move that same sprinkler head numerous times to complete your watering, which is a time-consuming pain.
Unfortunately, many lawn sprinklers do not have packaging that denotes its range, so you can end up like me with a mish-mash array of sprinklers that didn’t quite measure up to the job.
Do yourself a favor and only purchase a sprinkler that clearly states it’s spray pattern and range, which will save you time and aggravation in the long run.
Water pressure can make or break a sprinkler. Many sprinkler spraying patterns rely on being put under specific water pressure, typically around 50 or 60 psi. If your home has weak pressure, the sprinkler will most likely not perform as you expect.
Settings, such as water pressure and usage regulation or spray patterns that are adjustable, will bring the most value to your sprinkler since you can then use it in a variety of settings. Add a timer for the most benefit.
Giving your lawn a good soak while avoiding water waste is the balance you are looking for, so opt for a sprinkler that offers more setting options, even if you think you won’t need them.
Ease Of Use/Maintenance
A bulky sprinkler head may be hard to attach to a hose or move about your lawn, which will deter you from using it and lead to neglect of your lawn’s watering needs.
Another issue most homeowners fail to look at is the need to maintain the sprinkler.
- Can you easily access the holes, so they don’t get clogged with debris or mineral buildup?
- Are gaps small enough to keep dirt from jamming into the openings of any moving parts which can interrupt proper function or range of water spray?
- Are the connectors to the hose made of brass with heavy-duty gaskets to ensure a tight, leak-proof fit?
- Are the metal components rust-free or the plastic parts heavy-gauge so they won’t crack during use or from exposure to the elements?
Take a good look at these small details to avoid annoying maintenance problems down the road.
The best lawn sprinklers combine quality construction with an array of convenient features that allow you to efficiently irrigate your lawn without wasting water or your valuable time.
I hope this guide enables you to purchase the best lawn sprinkler so you can keep your lawn and garden growing lush and healthy while you get to sit back and relax!