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Let’s face it, having a yard is really about measuring up. Yes, grass is fun for the kids to run through and serves as a nice place to place a picnic blanket, but at the end of the day, you just want your lawn to be as green as—or even greener than—your neighbors’. Make the Joneses keep up with you by investing in the best lawn sprinkler system.
But even if the grass is greener over there, their home sprinkler system might not be the best sprinkler system for you. Whether you’re shopping for an above-ground sprinkler or an underground sprinkler system, a smart sprinkler system or a simple lawn sprinkler, we can help you find something that measures up to your expectations. Mowing and edging are all you.
- Best for large lawns: Rain Bird In-Ground Sprinkler System
- Best for small lawns: Gilmour 8-Pattern Stationary Sprinkler
- Best for oddly shaped lawns: Orbit Port-A-Rain Above Ground Sprinkler System
- Best for smart homes: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
- Best budget: Blisstime Lawn Sprinkler
Features to consider when shopping for the best lawn sprinklers
Basic lawn care tips are always going to include good irrigation. From spray shape and customization to spray distance, here are the features to consider when shopping for the best lawn sprinklers. We promise we didn’t water it down too much.
What type of sprinkler do you need?
When it comes to sprinkler systems, there’s no one garden variety. Options range from simple lawn sprinklers to professionally installed underground sprinkler systems. There are several different types: spot sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers, impact sprinklers, rotating sprinklers, traveling sprinklers, in-ground sprinklers, and smart sprinklers.
Spot sprinklers connect to a hose and can be placed wherever you like on the lawn. They shoot water straight up, letting the spray fall down in a square or circular pattern. These are good for smaller lawns. Oscillating sprinklers move back and forth, creating an arc of rain, which also allows for a lot of customization. Impact sprinklers provide circular coverage by shooting a powerful horizontal spray—great for larger spaces. Rotating sprinklers are like impact sprinklers, but their spray doesn’t travel as far. They are also quieter.
Traveling sprinklers follow your hose around the lawn like a set of train tracks, spraying as they go. This makes for a customizable system that works for many different-sized lawns. In-ground systems feature permanently placed sprinkler heads connected by underground tubing. And smart sprinklers, which can connect to in-ground sprinkler systems, are linked to your home’s WiFi, so you can water the grass using your smartphone or another device.
Can your sprinkler system get in position?
The best lawn sprinkler can be positioned to meet your needs, but some are more flexible than others. Above-ground lawn sprinklers that run through hoses offer the most flexibility since the hoses can be bent to any shape you like, winding around stone paths and sidewalks. Underground sprinkler systems tend to offer less flexibility because once they are installed, their position is pretty much fixed. However, sprinkler heads, regardless of if you’re operating an in-ground sprinkler system or an above-ground sprinkler system, offer plenty of ways to customize how you spray. Heads can offer multiple spray shapes, as well as rotation angles that let you water what you want, and keep dry all the rest. Your neighbor walking the dog on the sidewalk will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself for all the money you saved by not watering the pavement.
Can your lawn sprinklers go the distance?
While your water pressure definitely helps to determine how far your sprinkler can spray, each sprinkler is designed with its own range. Some spot sprinklers top out at 15 feet, while some impact sprinklers can cover distances of more than 150 feet. And systems often allow you to connect multiple heads, thus greatly increasing the area you can water. Obviously, you should consider the size of your lawn and garden before buying a residential sprinkler. Those dimensions determine how many sprinkler heads you’ll need and how far you’ll need them to be able to spray.
The best lawn sprinklers for large yards, small lawns and all fields in between
No matter the size of your lawn or the amount of green you’re willing to spend, you can find the best lawn sprinklers for you. Here are some of our favorites.
Best for large lawns: Rain Bird In-Ground Sprinkler System
If you have a larger lawn, consider an in-ground sprinkler system—one weekend of installation will prevent a lifetime of dragging the hose across the grass. These lawn sprinklers are designed for yards up to 3,000 square feet, with six pop-up rotary sprinklers that can spray up to 24 feet and rotate between 40 and 360 degrees. (If your lawn is even bigger, consider a traveling sprinkler like the Nelson Rain Train, which is an above-ground system that moves around your lawn on its own.) The Rain Bird in-ground system includes an easy-to-read timer that lets you set when and where your lawn gets watered, so you never have to bother turning the faucet on and off.
Best for small lawns: Gilmour 8-Pattern Stationary Sprinkler
Featuring eight spray patterns—like a square, circle, triangle, and rainbow—this single lawn sprinkler creates customizable coverage of smaller lawns and gardens, spraying up to 70 feet. The sprinkler, with a metal base and easily adjustable plastic top, weighs just .65 pounds, so it’s easily portable. Plus, it takes just seconds to screw in the end of your hose.
Best for oddly shaped lawns: Orbit Port-A-Rain Above Ground Sprinkler System
If your lawn isn’t a perfect square, you don’t have to be the odd home out. This residential above-ground sprinkler is perfect for lawns with irregular corners because its three adjustable sprinkler heads are connected by two 12-foot hoses, meaning you’re in no way obligated to arrange the system in a straight line. Plus, each sprinkler head, which waters up to a 24-foot diameter, can spray from 0 degrees to 360 degrees.
Best for smart homes: Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
Smart homes deserve a smart sprinkler. The Rachio controller allows you to connect your home sprinkler system to your phone or smart speaker, so you can water the grass with a touch of a button or the sound of your voice. Installing in about half an hour, the smart sprinkler system can save you up to half the cost of your monthly water bill. That’s because the controller can be set up so that your sprinkler automatically skips watering if rain or ice is in the forecast. Plus, the app, which is compatible with iOS 10.3+ and Android 4.4+, lets you view your water usage, likely prompting you to wonder if your grass truly needs to be that much greener.
Best budget: Blisstime Lawn Sprinkler
With up to 32.8 feet of spray, this lawn sprinkler won’t cover tons of ground. But you can connect multiple devices together, and at just $9 a sprinkler head, it can be an affordable and effective way to manage your lawn care. The lawn sprinkler can rotate all the way around, and its three arms are each equipped with multi-angle nozzles. That means you can create a customizable spray to cover all your corners, whether you’re looking for a uniform spray, a shower, or water in the shape of a rainbow.
Q: What is the most effective lawn sprinkler?
The most effective lawn sprinkler depends on your lawn’s shape and size. Larger lawns can benefit from in-ground systems, traveling sprinkler systems, or impact sprinkler systems that shoot a powerful horizontal spray. Spot sprinklers work better for smaller lawns, while adjustable sprinkler heads that attach to hoses work on odd-shaped lawns.
Q: What is the average cost to install a sprinkler system?
The average cost for the professional installation of a sprinkler system can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000. But you can also find DIY underground sprinkler systems like the Rain Bird In-Ground System for less than $200.
Q: Are sprinkler systems worth it?
Sprinkler systems are worth it if you water your lawn regularly. Because the best sprinkler systems let you create customizable watering patterns, you’ll use less water overall, saving you money in the long run.
The final word on shopping for the best lawn sprinklers
The best lawn sprinkler systems will give you the healthiest grass and help you win that friendly competition you have with the neighbor. Find a home sprinkler system that fits your yard and your budget, and everyone on the street could be seeing green.