With long and hot summer behind us, I’m sure that you had a bit of a trouble providing your precious vegetables with what is essential. Nutrients are crucial, to be clear, but water is far more vital for plants to grow correctly which results in an excellent harvest. Therefore, watering is needed, especially when the weather is so hot that you have the feeling that the sky is burning.
Although sprinklers are most often used on lawns and backyards, I have found out that they are useful in gardens as well. The best oscillating sprinkler is thus here so that you are prepared for the next year. Of course, if you are living in hotter areas, this article will be useful for you throughout all year.
What Makes A Sprinkler Good?
To find a winner, I had to make things as transparent as possible. Seeing the best one required time, effort and set of rules which will help me to determine which is worth the money. So, my rules were as follows.
To be honest, when it comes to material, manufacturers usually don’t have much room to “maneuver.” Since sprinklers are small and don't consist many parts, less material is required for them to be made. Some manufacturers are abusing this fact and making them low-quality, of cheap plastic and rubber.
But the things must be different. At least for the winner. The best nozzles made are those from brass, and if there are plastic parts, they must be top-notch quality. Of course, resistance to wet conditions is a must, and those who get rusty are not good enough.
Although this seems trivial and unimportant, it is one of the first things I have looked into when buying a sprinkler. Since not all are suitable for every garden, there are two ways to set up the sprinkler.
Sprinklers With A Stand
Those have a lower part in a shape of a stand, and are just put to where watering is needed. The good thing with this approach is that it won’t damage the soil where is set.
Sprinklers With A Spike
This type has a bit different approach. The lower part of the sprinkler is shaped as, you guessed it, spike, so it is stuck in the ground. This kind is more resistant to tipping over, but once the soil is wet enough, it can be tipped over.
Both of those have their pros and cons, but in general, I’m considering spike-featured sprinklers as a disadvantage. Of course, this is not a strict rule, but merely an opinion.
The area which water sprayed from the sprinkler can be covered is also important. The bigger, the better, but things shouldn’t go too far. In case that the area is vast, this means more significant force which ejects water, and this washes away the soil faster.
On the other hand, if the force is too small, the area covered will also be lower, but this will more resemble real rain. Of course, this kind of sprinkler needs to be moved and relocated more often.
The Force Which Moves The Sprinkler
There are sprinklers which are nothing else but the big nozzle which is stuck to the ground. Although cheap, these are not so effective in covering the ground. Therefore, these should be avoided if it is possible.
On the other hand, there are those with rotating heads which directs the stream in different ways, thus covering the ground equally and more efficiently. Among these, there are two groups. First are those who are using the power of the water pressure which goes through it to spin the head, and the second are those who are moving by themselves.
Each of these two is good in its way, so depending on the situation and other factors it may be either an advantage or disadvantage.
Of course, the matter of cost is also important. Since sprinklers are not such huge investment such as backpack sprayers, there is no need to splash the cash; usually, the difference between two models is minor.
Of course, if it happens that the product is so good that its quality sets it aside, the price will be higher, but with good justification; its quality will make it able to outlast and serve longer than its competitors. These are often considered as top-notch products.
Finally, we’re getting to the second part of this article. The products which are listed below are good enough to be considered as a purchase, but there can be only one (if you watched the “Highlander,” you know that this is true) winner.
Without further delay, here are the products.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Gilmour Heavy-Duty – The Quality Needs 1st Place
Price on Amazon: $61.85
The first thing I have noticed about this sprinkler is its design. It is neutral, without unnecessary additions or things I will never use. It stays simple, sharp and lets the quality speaks in its name.
Made of zinc and brass, with metal cast sled, the manufacturer didn’t save on the material. It looks and feels reliable and robust enough to endure a good few years of daily usage before showing any signs of wearing. Speaking of the sled, they are heavy and once set there was no worry that it will slip aside. While I was testing it, it didn’t move an inch.
The area this sprinkler can cover a beautiful area of 5.800 square feet. Although there are those on my list which can include more, I’ve felt that this is just the right measure. I have to move the sprinkler one way or another, and with the area this big, I didn’t feel it as a disadvantage.
What I liked the most with this sprinkler is its diffuser. It can be set to high stream, or to gentle misting. This was excellent approach since I could use it with lawns which can sustain the stronger force, or with my soft and tender vegetables, such as tomatoes. Also, the coverage is adjustable, so I could either direct the stream to one area or set it to go full 360 degrees coverage.
The price does seem high at first sight, but once complete metal-made housing and the years which it will last are taken into consideration, it looks completely different. In fact, this is a product I was thinki;ng about while writing “The price” section; it is so good that it is definitely worth the money.
Orbit H2O-6 Gear Drive Sprinkler – Suitable, But Only As The Second Pick
Price on Amazon: from $37.99
From Orbit, I give you my alternative pick. What this model separates from the others is its small dimensions and different types of the stream which can be chosen.
Although the material used to make this sprinkler is mostly plastic, it is quite quality-made, and it surprised me that manufacturer opted for the metal spike. This significantly improved the usability, since I had several of those cheap sprinklers and each became brittle from water in a few months, and the spike was usually the first to break.
As for area which this sprinkler can cover, it is about 5.200 feet, which is pretty good, but this is achieved with the most reliable stream. Therefore, this is the maximum for stronger plants and lawns, but for misting, it is quite shorter.
Adjusting the stream is easy, once figured out. There are three rings which are turned to adjust the distance, the shape of the flow and the angle of rotation (up to 360 degrees). However, there is no user manual (or at least I didn’t get it), so setting up had to be taken seriously. Once I overcame this obstacle and figured it out, it was quite easy to use it.
The spike is also hollow, which means that several sprinklers can be lined for better coverage of the ground, so this is another excellent feature. Surprisingly, the price is quite low for this product, but considering that the spike is the only metal part, it is fit for this model.
GARDENA 1977 Aquazoom – An Absolute Top Of The Shelf
Price on Amazon: $119.96
Gardena is known to make quality and expensive garden appliances, and this sprinkler from them is proof that this approach is the proper one.
The first thing noticeable about this model is its design. Made of plastic in black and orange color, it is less likely that you will accidentally step on it and break it. The plastic is durable and resistant to wearing and tearing, without being brittle after sitting in the sun.
The stand is light and set at such angle that there is no way it will slip or slide from the pressure of water. Speaking of water, I could adjust both the distance covered and the width of the stream, which gave me pretty good control. Also, attaching the hose was child’s play, since click system is easy to use, and yet remains reliable even after a while.
With this sprinkler, I could cover about 3.800 feet of square-shaped space, which is more than enough. There is also an option to lift it up from the ground if you wish to use it in the garden, to avoid dry spaces underneath.
The price is high, but since it is among the best ones, it is not ridiculous. If you have tender vegetables, this one is for you.
GT-BAO 360 Garden Sprinkler – Cheap, But Will Last Only One Season
Price on Amazon: $7.80
First of all, I have never heard of this manufacturer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I have decided to give it a go, and it is quite a decent sprinkler.
The material used for this sprinkler is plastic. Not the most quality one, but will hold out a season or two, so it is perfect as quick solution. Also, the nozzles are entirely plastic, and in case that some debris gets caught inside, it is quite the pain to clean it. Whether they are not the same size, or something else, in any case, look not to get it dirty.
The stand is also plastic, and what bothered me the most is the fact that it is not made as one piece with the rest of the sprinkler. Some instability was caused by this, and if the ground is not perfectly leveled, it will probably tip over.
As for the price, it is very low, and it is one of the leading advantages of this model. Concerning that you have limited options for setting the stream, it is understandable why it is so cheap.
Nelson Raintrain Traveling Sprinkler – The Traveling Sprinkler
Price on Amazon: $59.99
If you read my previous article about sprayers, you know that I love unusual designs. This little guy humored me beyond measures!
First of all, yes, it looks like a tractor. And second, it moves! The unique design is the most prominent thing I have noticed since the housing of the sprinkler looks like a little tractor with two aluminum arms which are rotating while the water sprays. Also, the housing is made of metal, and it is heavy enough not to be tipped over.
Setting it up requires a bit more planning and preparation. Its front wheel has a cut where the hose goes, and this is how it gets direction. Water pressure provides the drive, while the tube which I have stretched out provides the guide. Also, there is a stop ramp, which shuts off the sprinkler when reached.
This sprinkler has the far biggest area covered. With about 13.500 square feet, it is primarily intended for big lawns, and since it moves, it is not as useful in gardens. Only in case that you have a flat path in the middle, it can be used.
The price is not as high as I expected, and considering the effort which was required to design the sprinkler and the quality of materials used, it is affordable.
When I take into consideration everything, I can freely say that Gilmour Heavy-Duty is the best of the best. The best oscillating sprinkler has to be reliable, affordable, quality made and durable. In all of these categories, Gilmour had beaten the competition by far, and that is why I can recommend it as a primary target if you need a new sprinkler.
As always, feel free to leave a comment, opinion or advice in the comment section below.