Garden Sprinklers – A Complete Buyers Guide

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Garden Sprinkler Buyers Guide

Summertime: the time of year when we get to enjoy our gardens the most. Who wants to be stuck indoors when the sun is shining; there’s not a cloud in the sky, and the smell of BBQs fills the air. You take full advantage by sitting back in your favourite sun-spot and enjoying a cheeky tipple and why shouldn’t you?

Summer in your garden is all about enjoying your outside space. Your lawn is the centrepiece – It’s the perfect place to host a family get together; a last-minute BBQ; squeeze in a sunbathing session, or even referee some garden games. All that sounds great but your lawn will only be up to the task if you’ve given it the TLC it deserves – feeding and watering your lawn regularly makes a considerable difference in terms of the health, appearance and longevity of the grass.

If healthy, lush, bright green grass is what you’re after, watering your lawn is key and the perfect tool for that is the garden sprinkler. A garden sprinkler will keep your garden hydrated without the hassle of having to manually hose.

Only got 5 minutes

The 3 golden rules when it comes to growing and maintaining a healthy lawn are:

  • Feed it well
  • Water when needed
  • Mow on a high setting 

When it comes to watering, it’s a common misconception that we need to water, water and water some more but actually, in the UK, our grass doesn’t need a lot of water. It’s clever – it captures rain and uses it efficiently all by itself. However, that said, it is at the mercy of Mother Nature – when the rain doesn’t fall, it’s up to you to step in and provide your grass with the moisture it needs to retain that bright, vibrant green appearance and that bouncy, soft feel. And what better way to water than with a garden sprinkler.

The different types of garden sprinkler

Stationery Sprinklers

  • Cheapest
  • Placed in a set position and releases water over one area through several holes in a singular pattern
  • Work well with low pressure
  • Ideal for smaller gardens and getting those hard-to-reach areas 

Oscillating Sprinkles

  • Made from a tube with holes along the length,
  • Water cascades in a rectangular, wave-like motion
  • Sprinkler range can be adjusted
  • Ideal for mid-sized gardens
  • Due to low pressure, ideal for bedding plant areas

Rotary Sprinklers

  • Has several ‘arms’ which rotate as they water
  • Is able to cover large areas
  • Due to low pressure, ideal for large bedding plant areas

Pulsating / Impact Sprinklers

  • Sprinkler motion is triggered when weight is applied from the level to the anvil 
  • High water pressure; pulsating sprinklers shoot water horizontally at a high velocity
  • Suitable for larger gardens due to its impressive range

Travelling Sprinklers

  • Sprinkler unit(s) travel along a hose to water large areas
  • A predetermined route will be set for the sprinkler to take
  • Able to water very large gardens or public areas with practically no manual intervention required.

Factors to consider when choosing a garden sprinkler


The size of your lawn will dictate the type of garden sprinkler you need, so be sure to establish the range you’re going to want your sprinkler to cover. It’s worth measuring up before you buy – if you go for a sprinkler that isn’t capable of covering your entire garden or lawn, you won’t get the result you were hoping for. Think more patchy, dry and coarse than fresh, green and luscious.

A larger area will need a sprinkler capable of high pressure and a greater spray range, in which case a pulsating sprinkler would be the best option. If you’re at the other end of the scale and only have a small lawned area, a stationary sprinkler is your best bet. Oscillating sprinklers can also be used on small areas, providing the model has an adjustable water pressure setting which can be decreased when being used over a smaller range.

Lawn Shape

Different sprinkler types spray water in varying shapes so it’s important to choose the one that best fits with the shape of your lawn. Oscillating sprinklers are better suited to square or rectangular gardens, whilst circular or irregular shaped gardens are better suited to a pulsating sprinkler.

Water pressure

The sprinkler you’ve chosen might have impressive coverage, but if the water pressure is too low it’ll be winter before you’ve managed to spray the whole garden. If you’ve got a big garden and you’re wanting the water from your sprinkler to be sprayed a decent distance, you’ll need a high-pressure sprinkler. Models which work on a low water pressure won’t be up to the job; you’ll only get away with a low-pressure model if you have a small or medium-sized lawn, or you’re planning on just watering flower beds or hanging baskets.

Range Adjustment

Rather than relying on just water pressure, go for a sprinkler with an adjustable range. The best garden sprinklers will have a rotational adjustment function, which will allow you to manually set the water distribution range. Opting for a sprinkler with a range of nozzles AND flow settings means you can target the areas of your lawn that need the most attention.

Hi-tech settings

Who says gardening isn’t hi-tech? The best garden sprinklers will come with technological features that are all geared towards making watering your garden easier to manage and control. For the most efficient and effective watering, a lawn sprinkler attached to an electronic timer will ensure consistent maintenance; models which can be controlled remotely by Wi-Fi through cleverly designed apps and websites means you’re able to control your sprinkler anywhere you have an internet connection.

When and how often to use your garden sprinkler

If you’re looking at your lawn and thinking it looks more crispy and brown than green and luscious, it’s likely that it’s in need of some water. Another way of checking is to walk across your lawn – if your footprints disappear quickly, your grass isn’t thirsty: if they don’t, it’s an indicator the grass blades don’t have enough moisture in them to spring back up.

In terms of the time of day to water, it’s best to use your garden sprinkler early. Avoid watering at night as the grass won’t dry and whilst damp, your lawn will turn into a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Morning or, at a push, mid-afternoon is the ideal time to turn on your sprinkler.

It might sound obvious but the hotter and drier the season, the more water your grass will use. In Spring and Autumn, watering once a week during dry spells will more than likely be enough, however, in summer, you could find yourself watering up to 3 times a week during particularly hot, dry spells. Obviously, if the weather is wet with prolonged periods of heavy rain, there is no need to water, regardless of the time of year.


You’ll be able to pick up a basic stationary garden sprinkler for as little as £10. Oscillating and pulsating sprinklers are likely to set you back around £40, and for a decent travelling sprinkler, you’re looking at £100+. The more features a garden sprinkler has particularly models which have timers or smart watering systems, the more you will pay.

If you’re looking to install an in-ground sprinkler system, not only are the systems more complex than a basic sprinkler (which is usually just attached to your hose pipe or garden tap), but they’re significantly more expensive. As well as the cost of the sprinkler system itself, you will need to budget for the cost of installing your garden irrigation system, which is likely to mean getting a professional in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is using a sprinkler bad for the environment?

Providing you don’t waste water, you’re doing your bit for the environment when it comes to having to use a garden sprinkler. Surely not watering and letting your grass die is more damaging to the environment than using the minimum amount of water to keep it alive? Using a sprinkler instead of a hose is a good start as a sprinkler uses significantly less water, and investing in a sprinkler that’s leak-resistant ensures that you only use the water you need, when you need it.

How is a sprinkler better than a hose?

A garden sprinkler is better than a hose as a hose is likely to leave flooded areas, whereas a sprinkler gives you far greater control over how much water you use and how you distribute it.

A sprinkler also uses far less water than a hose.

What is a smart watering system?

There are many different types of smart watering systems. These sprinkler systems are normally linked to the in-ground sprinkler systems and come with controllers that allow you to schedule watering times using your smartphone or tablet.

The best garden sprinklers will also use real-time weather data to automate watering so you don’t even have to think about it !!! In the last instance, the sprinklers only turn on when they need to, based on the weather forecast for that day.

Chris Sharples
About Chris Sharples 62 Articles
I love a good gadget! Whether it's something that makes my home smart, saves me time or just looks great. I blog about gadgets and technology in and around the home. Follow me on my journey to avoid the pitfalls and find the best.

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