Lawn Sprinkler Types | How To Choose The Best Sprinkler For Your Lawn!

One thing is consistent across all of the lusciously green lawns you admire: they are all very well irrigated. And, if you decide to grow a yard, there is no getting around the responsibility of watering it. Some lawns need to be watered daily, while others need water twice a day.

Imagine the amount of work that would be required to do that. In this article, I’ll tell you about the different lawn sprinkler types.

Lawn Sprinkler Types

A sprinkler system automatically irrigates your lawn, plants, and trees, making your work easy.

The good news is that you do not have to water your lawn or garden yourself. Instead, you can install a sprinkler system to handle the work for you. However, there is a problem! If you don’t choose the right sprinklers, you can still end up with a brown lawn and wilting plants instead of green grass and gorgeous blooms. 

Since there is a large selection of sprinkler kinds and models, you must choose the most suitable for your property.

Therefore, devoting some of your time to selecting the most appropriate sprinkler system for the specific requirements of your lawn will help you save time and cut down on the amount of wasted water.

There are six primary types of lawn sprinklers: in-ground, oscillating, rotary, traveling, and stationary. Your budget, the size, and layout of your yard, soil type, and several other factors will play a critical role in determining the sort of lawn sprinkler you should choose.

In my opinion, however, the best lawn sprinklers are those that have rotary heads. These lawn sprinklers are excellent for medium- to large-sized lawns, and they are able to generate a PSI of more than 30.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Lawn Sprinkler

When I was a kid, there was just one factor that determined whether or not I liked a lawn sprinkler: how much fun it was to jump through the water spray. But, as it turns out, the “fun part” does not really matter when it comes to keeping your grass well watered. 

The primary function of a lawn sprinkler is to water grass. Before you go through the available sprinkler options, you must consider many aspects of a sprinkler’s design and features. So, when selecting a sprinkler, consider the following factors:

Automatic Or Manual

Automatic or manual lawn sprinkler types

You can schedule to irrigate your grass at any specific time with automatic sprinklers.

Installing automated sprinklers at your home is a good idea if you are constantly on the go or if you have young children living with you. With this sprinkler, you can plan the timing of the water with the help of a timer.

Automatic sprinklers can water your lawn at any time, even before you wake up in the morning or when you are away on vacation.

On the other hand, manual sprinklers don’t have timers. Therefore, you will need to be present in order to take care of the irrigation. However, manual sprinklers still let you water your grass whenever you like with relatively little effort.

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Lawn/Garden Size

Lawn size

If you use sprinklers with small reach on a large lawn, you will have to install too many of them.

One of the essential aspects that should not be overlooked is the size of your lawn or garden, as it will significantly influence the kind of sprinkler you choose

In an ideal situation, you should select a type of sprinkler that can either water the entire area at once or cover it in a limited number of runs. 

Thus, you will save money by not having to install many sprinklers.

So, if you have a vast land area that needs to be irrigated, you should install a type of sprinkler with a long reach so that the water can cover a larger area.

The Sprinkler’s Appearance

lawn sprinkler types

Get underground lawn sprinklers if you do not want lawn sprinklers to stand out on your lawn.

Think about the overall look that you want to achieve with your lawn sprinklers. The layout of the sprinkler system in your backyard must be compatible with the design of the surrounding landscaping. Would it bother you if the sprinklers were exposed to the air above ground? 

If it does, then you will need to install such underground sprinklers buried deep below the ground and are hardly noticeable from the surface. Also, remember that some underground sprinklers are not long-lasting despite their attractive appearance.

So, ensure that your sprinklers can withstand the elements and are durable.

Shape Of Your Lawn

Shape of lawn

There are different types of lawn sprinklers to cater to the needs of the different lawns.

If there are areas around your lawn that do not require being sprayed with water or if you are aiming to limit the quantity of water that you use, then you’ll need to fit the layout of your lawn to the type of sprinkler that you will be using.

With this information, you can select the best kind of sprinkler to meet the requirements of your lawn.

Sprinklers can be purchased in a variety of shapes, including square, circular, and rectangular, to complement the aesthetic of your lawn and garden. In addition, some lawn sprinklers provide a lot of adjustment options, allowing the user to conveniently target the watering to certain sections of the lawn.

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Water Pressure In Your Yard

Water pressure

The higher the water pressure in your yard, the more sprinkler options you will have.

Although it might not appear important at first glance, this has a considerable bearing on the type of sprinkler that can be installed after that. If the water pressure on your property is high, you will have the flexibility to install a wider variety of sprinklers. With lower pressure, your options considerably decrease.

System Adjustability

Lawn sprinkler types

Some lawn sprinklers offer more adjustability and customizability than others.

Some sprinklers are very easy to use; you just turn on the water, and the sprinkler moves in a predetermined pattern without requiring any adjustments. In comparison, other lawn sprinklers feature knobs, dials, and/or levers to regulate water flow, length, and width.

So, check to see how simple a specific type of lawn sprinkler is as well as whether or not its customizability actually makes a substantial difference for you. It is possible that you will not require a high level of adjustability, considering the nature of your yard.

What Is The Sprinkler Made Of?

If the lawn sprinkler is made of metal, it will have a greater chance of lasting longer; however, this will make it heavier and more difficult to move. Also, take a look at the nozzles; they ought to be made of either metal or flexible material that can be unclogged by applying pressure.

In addition, pay particular attention to the points of connection to the hose and the moving parts. Again, ideally, these should be made of metal. 

In-Ground Vs. Above Ground Lawn Sprinklers

Simply put, this category refers to whether your lawn sprinkler system is attached to a water source above or below the ground. The above-ground systems sit on top of your lawn and are connected to an above-surface water hose. 

Whereas the water supply for in-ground systems is often accessed through underground pipelines. Other than pop-up sprinklers, which are exclusively in-ground, most lawn sprinkler heads are configured to work with either approach. 

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each in more detail.

In-Ground Lawn Sprinklers

Im-ground lawn sprinkler types

In-ground sprinkler installation costs range from $2,000 to $3,500.

Convenience, productivity, and responsible use of water are three reasons to go with an in-ground irrigation system. However, in-ground sprinkler systems, like any other purchase, come with several benefits as well as a couple of negatives, both of which are important for homeowners to consider before making a choice.

Pros & Cons Of In-Ground Lawn Sprinklers

After watering, you don’t need to store the hose.Don’t ruin a lawn’s visual appeal.Have a greater resale value.Ideal for homes with children and pets.You’re less likely to trip over a sprinkler and get hurt.A reliable water supply is required.Could lead to excessive watering.Have a high installation cost.There needs to be seasonal upkeep.They are difficult to remove and repair.

Above-Ground Lawn Sprinklers

Above ground lawn sprinkler types

Above-ground lawn sprinklers are customizable and relatively cheap.

There are numerous advantages to above-ground lawn sprinklers. To begin with, they are portable, which gives you the freedom to move them exactly wherever you want on your lawn.

In addition, above-ground irrigation systems offer the benefit of simplicity; all that is required of you is to connect it to your hose and turn it on.

Pros & Cons Of Above-Ground Lawn Sprinklers

They are easy to install.They are very affordable.They are easily moveable.They are easily customizable.They Pose a higher trip hazard.You have to take them out and store them constantly.Setting them up is time-consuming.They increase the watering time.

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Lawn Sprinkler Types

You have a number of choices available when it comes to lawn sprinklers; however, your decision may be influenced by certain aspects, such as the choice of water supply, financial constraints, and the type of soil in your yard. Homeowners typically use hose-end sprinklers, which are the most common type of sprinkler. 

Other than that, the following are some of the most common kinds of lawn sprinklers, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Traveling Sprinklers

Traveling sprinklers

A traveling sprinkler’s fundamental design is using water pressure to drive a simple transmission.

The lawn and garden equipment market has recently witnessed a rise in demand for traveling sprinklers, often referred to as travelers. A traveling sprinkler operates in a manner that is comparable to that of a rotary sprinkler. 

However, it is more effective at watering large expanses of grass than a rotating sprinkler is. You’ll be able to spot one of these by the miniature tractor that rolls along on wheels and a hose that serves as the “track” and “guide.” 

They are propelled by water pressure instead of electricity or gas, both of which require irritating and frequent refueling. In order for a traveling sprinkler to function properly, higher water pressure is needed. 

The traveling sprinkler moves independently along the hose channel, evenly covering vast flat surfaces in a quiet continuous course and preventing overwatering. 

A traveling sprinkler is an excellent choice if you are not interested in something that will remain in place permanently. They do not need to be installed, and the only component of the setup that they require is a hose.

Pros Of Traveling Sprinkler

  • Depending on the length of the hose attached, they can cover vast areas.
  • Due to the continual movement, there is no chance of overwatering.
  • They’re enjoyable! It will be a hit with the kids and the neighborhood.

Cons Of Traveling Sprinkler

  • If the area has inclines, they might become stuck in place.
  • If the water pressure is low, it will not work.
  • Not ideal for households that already have pets.
  • They are not recommended for use in areas that have recently been seeded.
  • This is not an excellent choice for small lawns.

Impact Sprinklers

Impact Lawn Type Sprinklers

A single water jet from an impact sprinkler waters the area in a spinning circle.

If you have ever seen or heard a sprinkler that has something resembling a clicking sound, it was most likely an impact sprinkler. Impact sprinklers make a characteristic clicking sound when they move their arms in a circular fashion using a high water pressure stream.

Because of their powerful spray, impact sprinklers are ideally suited for watering expansive areas of grass, such as those seen in parks and other public spaces.

You can configure an impact sprinkler to do either a partial or full circle, and you can find these lawn sprinklers in both fixed and stationary configurations. 

Use impact sprinklers on sensitive landscaping plants and flowerbeds only if the diffuser pin is installed to slow the water flow. However, with the modern impact sprinklers, you can control how forcefully the water sprays out.

Pros Of Impact Sprinklers

  • For broad grassy areas, impact sprinklers usually work well.
  • Less likely to clog than models with individual emitters.
  • Spray typically lies closer to the ground and is not blown around.
  • They can be configured between full and sporadic coverage.

Cons Of Impact Sprinklers

  • Do not function well when the water pressure is low.
  • Not suitable for lawns that are boxy or rectangular.
  • The body of the sprinkler is exposed, which may cause maintenance issues.
  • The force of the stream can be detrimental to newly established grass.
  • The majority of these models have uneven coverage.

Pulsating Sprinklers


Circular coverage with pulsing sprinklers can reach up to 85 or 90 feet in diameter.

Since they give a gradual and gentle watering, pulsating sprinklers are highly popular for watering private lawns, landscaping, and golf courses. Pulsating sprinklers are the most effective lawn sprinklers by a significant margin. 

It is because they require a water pressure that is substantially lower than that required by other kinds of sprinklers they are able to cover a bigger area and distribute more water every hour.

In most cases, a pulsating sprinkler with a lower price tag will consist of a sprinkler head mounted on top of a metal spike. 

Spiked bases provide superior stability in softer ground, whereas platform bases are ideal for strong, difficult-to-penetrate turf. Rolling-base models, on the other hand, are the most convenient to relocate.

Pros Of Pulsating Sprinklers

  • A pulsating sprinkler can be adjusted to water an area of any size.
  • Pulsating sprinklers can water an area of nearly 10,000 square feet.
  • Watering with pulsating sprinklers is considered to be delicate and favorably slow.

Cons Of Pulsating Sprinklers

  • They are prone to water evaporation.

Stationary Sprinklers

lawn type sprinklers

Small spaces benefit from stationary lawn sprinklers, which are available in various styles.

Sprinklers of this type are not complicated, expensive, or difficult to operate. They come in various sizes, styles, and patterns, allowing you to choose the spray pattern that will be most effective for your lawn.

If you only need to water a tiny patch of grass or yard, then a stationary sprinkler, also referred to as a spot sprinkler in certain instances, may be the most perfect for your needs. 

The water distributed by stationary sprinklers cannot reach far enough to water huge yards successfully, but they do an excellent job of watering areas that are not as vast. Additionally, the water pressure required to operate many of them is quite low. 

However, with spot sprinklers, in most cases, you will only be able to use one of the preset patterns available when you have a stationary sprinkler. This might be square, it could be rectangular, or it could be circular.

Pros Of Stationary Sprinklers

  • Some models feature various spray patterns that can cover a variety of shapes.
  • They are a good choice for locations with minimal space.
  • They can function effectively even when the water pressure is low.
  • They are not only affordable but also quite unlikely to be damaged.

Cons Of Stationary Sprinklers

  • If you leave them in one spot, they will form puddles.
  • Several types can only water in a specific pattern.
  • This design is not appropriate for huge areas.

Sprinkler Hoses

Sprinkler Hoses

It is a flat, perforated hose that sprinkles lawns and garden flowers with a fine water spray.

The sprinkler hose is not a sprinkler in and of itself; however, there are some ways in which it can function similarly to a sprinkler. A sprinkler hose is a hybrid of a water sprinkler and a soaker hose.

Sprinkler hoses often come equipped with a series of tiny holes that, when activated, cause water to shoot out in all directions along the length of the hose. 

This can be a wonderful and gentle way to water the area you are re-seeding with grass while the seedlings are germinating and establishing themselves. You can also modify the sprinkler hose to effectively cover your garden, even if it has several unusual placements and shapes.

This is helpful if you have a random-shaped garden.

The sprinkler hoses also have the capability of acting as a soaker hoses. Again, it is as simple as pointing their holes in a downward direction.

Pros Of Sprinkler Hoses

  • Allows you to water a lawn with a lot of hurdles and objects.

Cons Of Sprinkler Hoses

  • Limited coverage.
  • Low output.
  • Short lifespan.

Oscillating Sprinklers

Oscillating Sprinklers

Oscillating sprinklers are excellent for rectangular-shaped yards with no obstacles.

Oscillating sprinklers move back and forth, producing a spray that is not too forceful and is therefore suitable for watering delicate young plants or flowers. They are most likely the type of sprinkler that can be found on most lawns. 

Oscillating sprinklers rotate to cover a greater area of your grass, reducing the number of times you will need to relocate them. Oscillating sprinkler models can typically be purchased for a price ranging anywhere from $10 to $30

Models that cost more money typically have a greater range of motion for adjusting the spray pattern and can operate at higher speeds, both of which reduce the likelihood of puddling. If you want to ensure that the water is distributed evenly across your property, you should look for a model with at least 15 jets. 

It is also preferable to have a metal filter within the hose connector, as this will help to reduce the likelihood of the connector becoming clogged.

Pros Of Oscillating Sprinklers

  • In general, their coverage is fairly consistent across the area that is being irrigated.
  • The square and rectangular pattern enable water to reach all four corners.
  • They produce larger water drops, similar to those of heavy rain.
  • They work effectively when the water pressure is low and when it is high.
  • Some models can water an area of up to about 4,000 square feet.

Cons Of Oscillating Sprinklers

  • Cheaper models tend to produce puddles and behave erratically.
  • The low water pressure might make some oscillating sprinklers ineffective.
  • Some sprinklers release noticeably more water in the vicinity than further away.
  • Sprays high in the air, making it more susceptible to strong winds.
  • This sprinkler will not cover all of your lawn if it is curved or has an uneven shape.

Misting Sprinklers


Sprinkler heads that are misted produce a thin mist cloud instead of their typical spray.

They are frequently referred to as micro-sprinkles due to the fact that they distribute small quantities of water over more confined areas. Given the fact that they do not require high water pressure to function, misting sprinklers are an excellent option for residences that have lower water pressure.

In addition, they are a perfect choice for plants like flower beds that require more intricate and specific watering patterns.

Pros Of Misting Sprinklers

  • Require less water.
  • Excellent for use in confined areas.
  • Good for use in newly seeded lawns.
  • Affordable than most sprinkler types.
  • Work well even in low water pressure situations.

Cons Of Misting Sprinklers

  • Do not work well in large areas.
  • Prone to disturbance by blowing wind.

Final Thoughts

The kind of sprinkler system you go with will influence a number of aspects when it comes to the lawn, including the amount of additional labor you have to put in and the amount of water you can save. In general, you can use sets of oscillating sprinklers or fixed sprinklers to water lawns that are less than ten acres in size. 

On the other hand, moving, in-ground, and impact sprinklers are undoubtedly some of the best choices when it comes to irrigating a larger area. 

I have high hopes that you have found this guide to lawn sprinkler types to be informative. And that it will help you make an informed decision about which sprinkler will best serve your needs over many years of maintaining beautiful and healthy grass.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you run a sprinkler?

A watering session should go long enough to completely soak the soil and provide all of the roots with a nourishing drink. Your lawn should receive at least 1 inch of water every week. So, sprinklers should be set to run twice a week for roughly half an hour.

Is it better to hand water or use a sprinkler?

Hand watering is not the most effective practice, even though it helps preserve water. Older landscapes often benefit more from hand watering because they require less upkeep and care. However, when it comes to taking care of your lawn, sprinkler systems can really help you save time and hassle.

Do sprinkler systems use a lot of electricity?

Standard lawn sprinklers run on mains water pressure, but certain industrial-sized irrigation systems need electricity to function. Electricity is used by the irrigation system’s controller to switch on and off the valves. 

How much is a sprinkler system?

The cost of professional installation will vary depending on factors such as the type of system, the style of landscaping, and the size of the yard. That is why there is a wide range in price for sprinkler systems, with the national average being $2,538.

At what pressure do lawn sprinklers work?

Residential water pressures of 30 to 50 pounds per square inch are typically required for sprinkler heads to function properly. On the other hand, sprayers and rotor sprinklers operate more effectively when the water pressure is lower than 40 pounds per square inch.

Sources For Further Reading

Water-saving strategies for home lawns – University of Minnesota Extension Service

Auditing home lawn irrigation systems – University of Minnesota Extension Service

How much water does your lawn irrigation system apply? – Michigan State University Extension

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